Marca are reporting that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told interested parties in highly-rated young forward Ousmane Dembele that the youngster will play a key role for the Blaugrana next season.
The story comes off the back of European champions Liverpool’s believed interest in signing the youngster this summer.
Has enjoyed mixed fortunes in Catalonia
Ousmane Dembele joined Barcelona in the summer of 2017 from Dortmund for an initial fee of 105million euros, potentially rising to 140million euros. The fee illustrated just how highly-rated the youngster is in the world game.
The step up to such a demanding club was always going to be a difficult one for such a young player. The competition for a place in the Barcelona starting line-up was also always going to be tough for Dembele.
Lionel Messi and of course Luis Suarez are always going to be first choice in the Barcelona front three. Dembele was seen as a replacement for the outgoing Brazilian superstar Neymar. His were big shoes to fill and Dembele has enjoyed a slightly underwhelming time in Catalonia.
Considering his problems with injury and the fact that Dembele has not always started for the Blaugrana, his record of 11 goals in 46 La Liga games is not a terrible one.
Dembele’s attitude and professionalism have been in question a number of times. There was even talk of the French forward being addicted to playing computer games. This reportedly occurred during the time he spent out of action during injury.
What is for sure he needs to up his game next season if indeed he stays with the Catalan giants, who are once again favourites to win La Liga next season.
Even stiffer competition for a starting spot
Last season the youngster was competing for a starting place with Brazilian international Philippe Coutinho to play alongside Suarez and Messi. The former Liverpool player is being linked with a summer move.
Dembele started just 20 of Barcelona’s 38 La Liga games last season while making nine appearances off the bench.
The Catalan giants look set to strengthen their attacking options with the signing of Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, an international teammate of Dembele with France. The 28-year-old would certainly be a major competitor for a starting spot ahead of the 22-year-old.
There is the feeling that Dembele would not struggle for starts if his fellow World-Cup winner turned up in Catalonia this summer. It is easy to buy into that feeling, considering just how much quality that Griezmann brings to any team.
Dembele may never fulfil his potential at Barcelona
Ousmane Dembele is no doubt a player with talent and potential to become a far better player in the future. His obvious potential was the reason for Barcelona signing him in the first place.
However, despite his talent, he may never fulfil his potential in Catalonia. Many young or talented players have failed to make it at Barcelona. It takes a player with a special mentally to make at the Catalan giants.
The aforementioned question marks over Dembele’s attitude could well prove to be key in whether he makes it at his current club. If he does not make it with the Blaugrana, then there is sure to be a queue clubs ready to offer him an opportunity to impress elsewhere.
Will Ousmane Dembele stay in Barcelona this summer?