After having a sensational first season at Borussia Dortmund, Dembélé appeared to be a world-beater in the making, owing to his pace, skills, and ability to go past defenders in one-on-one situations. With almost everything at his disposal, the 23-year-old Frenchman was supposed to be what Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain is today.
After almost three frustrating seasons at Barcelona and numerous on and off the field issues, Dembélé’s career graph has only moved downwards. Due to his inconsistent performances, the forward’s value in the transfer market has fallen to such an extent that even after lowering the price tag to a mere £37 million, the Catalan giants are struggling to offload the France international.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how Ousmane Dembélé has fared at Barcelona thus far.
When Ousmane Dembélé arrived in La Liga, a lot was expected from the prodigy, especially due to the hefty sum of money which Barcelona spent to get him on board.
However, after starting his Barcelona career on a positive note by assisting Luis Suárez on his debut, the former Dortmund star has failed miserably to make a mark for himself at the Camp Nou, mainly due to injury woes.
Dembélé first injured his hamstring eight days after making his first league start for Barcelona and was sidelined for almost 106 days in 2017. It kicked off a string of hamstring injuries which prevented him from fulling his true potential.
Since his arrival at the Camp Nou three years back, Ousmane Dembélé has missed a total of 97 games, suffering nine injuries – a stat which is frightening to everyone associated with Barcelona.
Until now, the 23-year-old has only appeared 74 times for Barcelona, which is way less than the number of games he has missed for the La Liga champions. far.
Off the field issues
As much as his injury troubles, Ousmane Dembélé’s lifestyle style has been a subject of continuous scrutiny from the Catalan media for quite some time now. Sadly, Dembélé’s off the field activities have made more headlines than his on-field performances and it signifies the Frenchman’s time at Barcelona.
Moreover, Dembélé’s eccentric private life has taken him two steps backwards every time he tried to make a forward move in his career. Ever since his arrival in Catalonia, Dembélé has missed or been late to training on numerous occasions, failing to value the club’s rules and regulations.
Besides, his lack of seriousness in maintaining a proper diet and the habit of playing video games, often at inappropriate hours, have held him back professionally, which has shown during his wretched time at Barcelona.
To add more to the mix, Ousmane Dembélé is far from being a fluent Spanish speaker, which has somewhat restricted his association with his Barcelona teammates.
Tipped as Neymar’s replacement
Brought in to replace Neymar Jr, who alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez formed one the most potent attacking trios in the history of football, Dembélé had the difficult task of hitting the ground running at the Camp Nou at a young age. Besides, the pressure of a hefty transfer fee didn’t help his cause either.
Ousmane Dembélé, who can play on either flank due to his superior ability to use both feet in an equal manner, was used as a like-for-like replacement for Neymar on the left-wing. However, numerous injuries and several off-field activities have somewhat restricted Dembele in establishing a proper on-field chemistry with the dynamic Barcelona duo of Messi and Suarez.
In 70 odd appearances for the club so far, the gifted winger has only scored 19 times, besides providing 17 assists. On the other hand, during his four-year spell at Barcelona, Neymar found the back of the net on 105 occasions, leading the Catalan giants to numerous titles, including a treble back in the 2014-15 season.
To sum it up, Ousmane Dembélé has failed to replace Neymar at Barcelona despite being given ample opportunities. And the pressure of filling the boots of the mercurial Brazilian has certainly prevented the Frenchman from fulfilling his true potential at the Camp Nou.