Decision-time for Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele

Ousmane Dembele

Barcelona’s young French star Ousmane Dembele faces a potentially make-or-break season in 2019/20.

The former Rennes and Borussia Dortmund winger has found himself playing second fiddle to stars such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez since his arrival at the Catalan club in August 2017.

In his first LaLiga season (2017/18), Dembele scored three goals and provided six assists from 17 appearances (12 starts).

Last season, the French international was hampered by injury for parts of the campaign. He played 29 times for Barcelona, making 20 starts in 2018/19, scoring eight goals and laying on five assists.

Rumours began circulating this week that Dembele was attracting interest from both Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

Dembele has already shown he can perform in the Bundesliga after a productive season during his one year at Dortmund. In 32 appearances (22 starts), he scored six goals and provided 12 assists in the top tier of German football. It’s easy to see why FC Bayern would be genuinely interested in the speedy forward, especially with veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben having now left the club.

Jurgen Klopp is also reportedly a fan of Dembele’s and he would be an ideal signing to strengthen Liverpool’s squad. He can play on either side of the front three, providing an excellent level of cover for either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah.

Dembele has remained quiet on the media front but it is claimed that he is happy to stay at Barcelona and fight for his spot. With Messi and Suarez both 32, they are certainly entering the twilight years of their careers, but both players still have at least two years left at the top of their games. Will Dembele wait for the Messi-era to pass?

At 22, Dembele is in no hurry but if he does not find himself in the right environment over the next couple of years then his development certainly could stall.

When you also consider the possible return to Barcelona of Neymar plus the expected arrival of Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, it just gets tougher and tougher to see Dembele lasting at Camp Nou.

Bayern Munich may be the perfect choice for Dembele with the Robben-Ribery years now behind them. Dembele could become the new hero at the Allianz Arena, filling the Robben and Ribery-shaped void.

However, one would think that all young players would relish the thoughts of realising their full potential under the watchful eye of Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool, as reigning European champions, face a huge amount of fixtures in 2019/20 and Klopp is going to need to expand on his squad. The first-choice front three of Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino need some added cover with Divock Origi being the only other experienced forward in the first-team squad.

Dembele has some tough choices to make, it not this summer, then certainly next.

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