Quique Setién wants Ousmane Dembélé to be the main signing or addition to the Barcelona squad for the upcoming term. Will culés finally be able to see all of his virtues?
With the possible financial complications of landing Neymar in the summer, Quique Setién is clear about something: he has total faith in Ousmane Dembélé and wants him to be Barcelona’s main signing for next season. The Frenchman, who arrived in 2017 to fill in the void left by Ney‘s departure, is set to stay for his third campaign at the Camp Nou in spite of his frequent fitness problems.
With Dembélé’s recurring injuries having lowered his market price, Barça and Setién’s plan is to take close care of his recovery and translate the coach’s confidence to the pitch. According to Mundo Deportivo, the Cantabrian manager has full trust in the 22-year-old and rules out his exit. Ousmane has not be able to play a single minute under Setién yet, as he suffered a muscle injury in his right thigh in the game against Borussia Dortmund, and hasn’t come back since. Dembélé was rejoining the training sessions when Quique replaced Ernesto Valverde as the first team coach, but right after it the young winger suffered a setback and is now expected to be out of action until August.
❛ Dembélé can give us a lot. We will try to finally show what he has. Let’s hope that his performances will be continuous and see how good of a footballer he really is ❜
before Dembélé got injured in February
Nonetheless, in spite of his fitness troubles and reported indiscipline problems, Setién has always praised the differential qualities of Ousmane, as well as his attitude and commitment. “You have to keep in mind that they are still young kids. His dedication, from what I have seen, is total and absolute. I have tears when I see the capacity and intensity in which he works”, the Spaniard said before the former BVB attacker got injured in February. He added: “We are delighted with Dembélé. He can be the winter signing. You never know how things happen and we always think positively. It’s clear that his recovery will come in hand”.
In the end, Dembélé couldn’t be the winter signing Quique wished he would be, but he could be a summer signing. Setién’s eyes sparkle when he has to talk about Ousmane, who desperately needed a coach like the 61-year-old in order to demonstrate all the talent he has inside. When at Rennes and at Dortmund, Dembélé’s gift, dribbling expertise, explosive conditions and technical abilities were undeniable. However, issues related to his physical form, confidence and adaptation, on and off the pitch, have prevented him from showcasing on a regular basis all the quality he has.
Injuries have been holding Dembélé back at Barcelona | Photo by Alex Caparrós via Getty Images
Setién could be a career-changing manager for Ousmane if the player manages to live up to the public admiration directed at him by the former Betis boss. If Quique values him, it must be for something. His tactics could have in Dembélé the distinctive direct winger such possession football requires in order to be more purposeful. But these are just assumptions, and until the Frenchman isn’t back on the field, no definitive conclusions can be drawn. Could next season finally be Dembélé’s?
Report: Barcelona accept defeat in pursuit of Inter Milan striker
According to reports from Corriere della Sera (relayed by SempreInter), Barcelona have now given up on their pursuit of Inter Milan striker, Lautaro Martinez. The 23-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal season upfront with Romelu Lukaku, and he is a hot prospect in Europe. He has several skills that make him suited to a team like Barça, who have been chasing him for over a year now.
Inter were initially demanding northwards of €100m for the striker before the start of the 20/21 season. With their financial struggles, the Catalan club were unable to cope with their demands. However, the rumours linking Martinez to Barça did not die down in the months that followed. This is due to the Blaugrana’s dire need for a striker.
The Garnet and the Blue have been considering several options, with the Argentinian striker being only one out of a talented bunch including Aguero, Depay, Haaland, and more. Martinez was hotly tipped to join Barça, apparently wanting a union with his fellow Argentine teammate Lionel Messi.
However, with Inter’s meteoric rise to success, and Martinez’ key role in the team, it seems that he is no longer going to leave the club. The Milan based club is head and shoulders above all other teams in the Serie A, and look set to win their first title in eleven years.
The Argentine forward has played a huge part in Inter’s incredible campaign, scoring fifteen and assisting five in 30 matches this league campaign.
Antonio Conte has done a brilliant job with Inter, and he has also developed Martinez into a phenomenal striker; one who can both score goals as well as drop deep and create the play. With his immense pairing with Lukaku and the inevitable success of Inter, it seems impossible that a transfer is on the card for the young striker any time soon.