Ousmane Dembele’s career isn’t going as many thought it would.
The 21-year-old arrived at the Camp Nou in 2017 in a remarkable deal that could cost the Spanish club £131 million.
The fee – £96m outright and £35m in bonus payments – is a huge sum to spend but Barca clearly thought he was worth it.
Yet more than one year on and there are rumours that the Blaugrana are already considering selling Dembele.
Pete Jenson of the Daily Mail claimed this week: “The club are hoping that he can be reincorporated into the squad and the first team, be part of success this season, and then sold next summer.”
The Frenchman hasn’t made an impact and concerning reports have emerged about his behaviour away from the pitch.
Dembele didn’t show up for a training session last week and Barcelona couldn’t track him down. He later complained of a stomach bug.
Video of Dembele for BVB
Barcelona would probably show more faith in Dembele if his performances were at a high level.
But he’s been inconsistent, failing to cement a spot in the starting line-up.
Yet when you watch footage of Dembele playing for Borussia Dortmund, it’s like watching a totally different player.
A tweet of Dembele’s performances for the German club shows his immense talent.
And the caption added to the clip hits out at Barca boss Ernesto Valverde for not letting him play with freedom.
“Tuchel asked him to let go of his imagination, Valverde preferred to deprive him of his freedom to think,” the message reads.
Fascinating stuff. Is Valverde actually ruining Dembele, by asking him to do too much defensively?
The Barcelona coach stressed to Dembele the importance of carrying out his defensive duties in February.
“Dembele has duties in defence which he has to cover and he’s taking steps in that direction,” Valverde said.
Yet that hinders Dembele’s attacking freedom, and as the video clearly shows, he’s at his best when he’s let loose.
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