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Barcelona to give Ousmane Dembele time he needs to develop - Bartomeu

Barcelona are not planning to let Ousmane Dembele leave in the summer and will give him the time he needs to fulfil his potential, president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said, though he also confirmed talks with Antoine Griezmann's agent.

Dembele, 20, has been linked with a move from the Camp Nou following an injury-hit debut campaign in La Liga.

The €105 million signing from Borussia Dortmund has made just 20 appearances in all competitions and was an unused substitute as Barca drew with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Liverpool are among the clubs who have been linked with Dembele, with coach Jurgen Klopp saying he would be interested if the France international was available.

Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported that Barca were considering sending him out on loan for a season, but Bartomeu told RAC1: "Right now, that's not on the table.

"When the season finishes, we'll have meetings with the coaching team about what they want [next season]."

Dembele has spent five months on the sidelines with injuries this season but has been fit since February.

However, he has failed to earn a regular place in Ernesto Valverde's side despite showing improvement, and Bartomeu added: "That's the manager's decision. When a player comes to Barcelona, it's because Valverde wants them.

"He [Dembele] is still very young, a bet for the future, not for immediate performances. We have to give him time. If he didn't play one game, he will play in others. We have high hopes for him at the club."

Dembele could face more competition next season if Barca sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

Striker Luis Suarez said the France forward, who has a €100m release clause, would be welcome to join Barca, and Bartomeu confirmed meeting with his agent last year.

"We have a relationship with his agent as we do with other agents," he said. "I met with his agent last October, but there was nothing to it. There was no need for any speculation [on the back of it]."

Bartomeu also revealed that he met Griezmann by chance on holiday last summer but stressed that there had been no tapping up.

"We've spoke with [Atletico president Enrique] Cerezo and [CEO] Gil Marin about a lot of things," he said. "The relationship between the two clubs is good -- we understand football in a similar way.

"But it's not the time to speak about these things. You can't speak about players that play for other clubs."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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