Barcelona Injuries, private life, on-field issues
Ever since Barcelona made Ousmane Dembele their record signing in the summer of 2017, the French winger has appeared to take two steps back for every move forward, with his latest problem coming against Sevilla.
The former Borussia Dortmund star was shown a red card for dissent after Barcelona were already down to ten men, and even though it didn’t place the result at risk, there is still a degree of disappointment in a player who is looking pricier by the week at a total of 145 million euros.
First it was injuries, then it was his eccentric private life and behaviour away from the pitch, and now it’s his conduct on the pitch, there always seems to be something with Dembele.
He was signed to replace Neymar, but his debut season in Catalonia was a disaster, with two injuries depriving him of any real game time.
Fans had patience and waited for him to return with visions of the electric player they saw in the Bundesliga, and his second season at the Camp Nou should have been a realisation of that potential.
However, he lost his place to Philippe Coutinho, who in turn was so bad that the Blaugrana shipped him off to Bayern Munich on loan at the end of the campaign.
With being late to training another mark on Dembele‘s copybook, Los Cules seriously considered using him as a makeweight to help bring Neymar back to the club, but the player refused such a deal because it’s his dream to succeed with Barcelona.
Yet, what is so strange is that his actions aren’t in line with this supposed dream, and his mistake against Athletic Club in the LaLiga Santander opener which handed the Basque club the win can be forgiven, but then the friendships he keeps off the pitch and his red card against Sevilla can’t be.
When a club loses trust in a player it’s very difficult for the relationship to be rebuilt, and Barcelona feel as though they have done everything possible to help Dembele.
They put up a personal chef to life with the player, but Dembele dismissed him, they have offered him playing time this season and he has refused to tell the medical staff when he is injured, although you have to feel a degree of empathy for him in this regard, with injuries having starting this whole mess to begin with.
Yet, the Blaugrana just feel as though that is another breach of trust, but there are moments when he shines.
He was impressive in his cameo against Liverpool at the Camp Nou last season, although he missed a golden chance to make it 4-0 and kill the tie, and he actually created a goal against Sevilla on Sunday.
However, then comes the mistake, the backward steps that are now viewed as inevitable, and his suspension means he will be absent for the Clasico with Real Madrid, a game where a match-winning performance would have virtually forgiven everything gone before, yet Dembele has literally talked himself out of even getting such a chance. At 22 years old, he’s his own worst enemy, and chances aren’t infinite at a club like Barcelona.