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Barcelona are reportedly looking to offload Ousmane Dembele this summer amid speculation that Liverpool have been contacted about whether they are interested in signing the forward.
According to RAC1 (h/t Callum Vurley of the Daily Star), the La Liga champions will reach out to a number of clubs regarding a possible move at the end of the season, with the France international struggling to show his best form since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer.
Vurley noted the Reds are one of the clubs in the frame to land Dembele if Barcelona decide to let him go.
The 21-year-old became one of the most expensive players in history last summer, as he was drafted in at the Camp Nou for an initial £96.5 million following Neymar’s sale to Paris Saint-Germain. His first season at Barca hasn’t been straightforward.
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Unfortunately for Dembele, an injury early in the campaign resulted in a four-month stint on the sidelines. During that time, Barcelona excelled under manager Ernesto Valverde, and the winger has found it tough to get into the team on a regular basis since returning.
As Marca‘s Jason Pettigrove noted after Barca’s 5-4 loss to Levante on Sunday, Dembele too often leaves viewers wanting a little more:
Jason Pettigrove @jasonpettigrove
Paco Lopez working wonders with #Levante and the half time score in #LevanteBarça isn’t too much of a surprise. Suarez/Dembele have to offer more in terms of movement and incisive play
Despite the scepticism around Dembele, it’s worth remembering how many significant changes have happened in his career over the last couple of years.
Moving from Stade Rennais to Dortmund in 2016 would have been a big jump up for him, and he showed maturity to excel at the German club in his debut season. However, leaving BVB for Barcelona for an extraordinary amount of money would have been even more of a culture shock.
Factor in the injury he suffered, and it’s not been a surprise to see Dembele toil at times.
As OptaJose noted, while he’s been on the scene for a while, he’s still young:
1- Ousmane Dembélé became yesterday, at 20 years, 11 months and 24 days, the youngest player to score a brace for Barcelona in La Liga since Bojan Krkic, on 20th November 2010. Mosquito. https://t.co/jRc6MuFYzP
Dembele has showcased flashes of incredible potential during his time in Barcelona too. In the recent win over Villarreal, he scored a goal that packaged all of his best attributes—the youngster dribbled from his own half with searing speed and close control before lofting a chipped finish over the goalkeeper.
Rafael Hernandez of Barca fan site Grup14 believes the winger should be given more of a chance:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Dembélé stood out with a solid performance and spectacular goal. Hope he continues at the club for the upcoming season. He deserves a shot and in the few times he’s featured, fans are right to be excited when he’s on pitch.
If he were to move to Liverpool, it’s easy to see him fitting in with the style of football manager Jurgen Klopp has implemented at Anfield. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all exhilarating and fluid forward players; Dembele would be another brilliant option to slot into the front three.
As Vurley noted, Barcelona have been strongly linked with a move for Antoine Griezmann, and the Atletico Madrid man’s prospective arrival could push Dembele further down the pecking order at the Camp Nou. However, there’s no doubt the youngster is a talent worth persevering with next season.