Four years into his stint at Barcelona, it would be safe to say that Ousmane Dembele has failed to live up to the promise and potential that made the Catalans splash more than €100 million for his signing in 2017.
Once regarded as the next biggest thing in French football when he burst out at Borussia Dortmund, the 24-year-old’s progress has been stifled by a spate of injuries since he made the switch to Catalonia.
Indeed, while he has made 118 appearances for the Blaugrana, he has missed nearly the same number of games (96) in the last four years. Dembele enjoyed the best run of his time at Barcelona last year when he made 44 appearances, including a stretch of 28 games between December and April.
However, the 24-year-old picked up yet another injury during the summer while on international duty with France at the UEFA Euro 2020. The winger has been on the road to recovery for close to four months now and has recently returned to training on the grass with a comeback on the horizon later this month.
Dembele in difficult situation at Barcelona
Even though he is said to be closing in on a return to action, a report from SPORT claims that Dembele has been going through a difficult time emotionally. The 24-year-old is said to be feeling ‘lonely and emotionally fragile’ at the club, while the departure of close friend Antoine Griezmann has exacerbated the situation.
As a result, Barcelona are trying to keep him motivated and provide the necessary support needed to Dembele to show that the club trusts the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.
At the same time, though, the Catalan giants are also desperate to get Dembele signed on a new contract. With his current deal running out next year, the 24-year-old will be open to talk to clubs from abroad starting January.
Talks over a new deal have been held with Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko. But an agreement is yet to be arrived at owing to Barça’s difficult financial situation and the winger’s wage demands. The Catalans, though, are trying to get the deal wrapped up at the earliest and are pressuring the player’s camp to accept the renewal offer made.
The report further adds that the club are aware of the risks of rushing him back into action given his recurrent injury issues and his explosive style of play. But at the same time, Barça are struggling on the pitch, with the attacking unit looking shorn of quality following Lionel Messi’s exit.
As he closes in on recovery from yet another injury setback, Barcelona will be hoping that these issues will be a thing of the past and he can start afresh to fulfil the promise he had shown.