Barcelona were finally successful in extending Ousmane Dembele at the club after a prolonged saga which dragged from last summer until the last month, when he finally penned a new deal. However, the Frenchman has put pen to paper on a mini contract of two years, keeping him at the Camp Nou through the summer of 2024. But its the Catalan club who have inserted a one of its kind ‘anti-injury’ clause in the contract of the winger, according to MARCA.
Barcelona have an overall debt of €1.5 billion still on their heads as they are triggering multiple economic levers to run their financial machine. The debt is a result of unaccounted transfer fees and player bonuses which the club splashed out during its previous regime under Josep Bartomeu. The bonuses especially hit the club hard as players despite being injured and not playing even 50% of the games pocketed the extra money. To avoid such a miscalculation, the new president Joan Laporta and his team have worked a solution in this anti-injury clause.
Ousmane Dembele, his injury nightmares and the new ‘anti-injury’ clause
Ousmane Dembele was acquired by Barcelona back in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund for a staggering fee of €129 million, after he had racked up 10 goals and 22 assists in 50 appearances in his debut and only season at the club. While many expected he was the solution to Barca’s wing troubles after Neymar quit for PSG, Dembele’s lucrative move fell apart after he started picking up regular injuries at Camp Nou.
The France international has so far sustained over a dozen injuries, which have hindered his progress with the Catalan club. Dembele has managed only 157 games so far over the period of five years, and missed a staggering 102 due to injuries since joining the La Liga side. As evident, the winger has sat out almost 50% of the club’s fixtures during the last five years.
As a result, Barcelona while extending Ousmane Dembele’s contract last month inserted an anti-injury clause which states the 25-year-old is subject to salary bonuses only if he manages to feature in a “certain percentage” of games throughout a season. Till now, the winger had been receiving €2 million bonuses per season on top of his wages despite mostly being on the treatment table than the football field. This trend won’t be followed anymore at the club, and more players’ contract could now be included with this anti-injury clause.
Nonetheless, a rejuvenated Dembele has taken the pitch for Barca this season who has contributed an impressive two goals and four assists in just seven games so far. A month into the new season, the France international is yet to be sidelined due to an injury and is now in contention to represent his national team at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in November-December.
Barcelona manager Xavi, who is credited with the change in the attitude of Dembele too has lavished enormous praise on his player. The Spaniard said last week:
“He [Ousmane Dembele] is happy, enjoying himself, content, he is important for me, for the group. He makes the difference, assists, scores, he is a knife and he is in a good moment. I don’t want to shower him in praise but the capacity he has in the one-on-one is at the level of the best Neymar. He has to be more bold, shoot at goal more and score. He is a good kid and he has to take advantage of these characteristics. He is capable of making the difference and he is doing so.”