NEWCASTLE have been dealt a blow in their bid to sign Ousmane Dembele – with Barcelona tabling a new contract for the French winger.
The Toon have been chasing a marquee signing in the January window to attract more top players in their desperate attempt to avoid relegation.
But Eddie Howe is set to miss out on Dembele, 24, with Xavi doubling-down on his praise for the injury-prone forward.
Since taking over, the Nou Camp legend has revealed time and time again that he’s a big fan of the 27-cap France ace.
And now, Xavi has put his money where his mouth is by tabling a new contract off for Dembele, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.
Romano tweeted: “Newcastle approached Ousmane Dembele and his agents weeks ago to make a proposal.
“But the feeling is still optimistic for his contract extension with Barcelona.
“Barca are confident to reach the final agreement in the next days, and Xavi is pushing to keep Ousmane.”
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Manchester United had also been linked with a move for Dembele under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But since Ralf Rangnick’s arrival, the club have set up in a 4-2-2-2 formation, with new wingers no longer the priority.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be forced to look elsewhere for their big-name January signing.
The Magpies have been linked with Kieran Trippier, but the Atletico Madrid and England star now looks likely to head to Old Trafford.
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