Is Dembele ready to share Messi's Barcelona "burden"?
Many believed Ousmane Dembele’s first season at the Catalans would be excellent considering the hefty prize tag that came with the player’s move from former club Borussia Dortmund in 2017. He was bought by the club for a price of €147 million as a replacement for Brazilian dynamite, Neymar but life at the Camp Nou did not quite kickoff well for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner. A combination of long term injuries as well as lack of game time were some of the reasons for the Frenchman's disappointing first season at the club. In the summer of 2018, barely a year into his Barca career, there were already rumours linking him with a loan move away from the club, with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool vying for his signature. However all of that did not materialize and the Frenchman declared at the start of the season that he was staying put with the club.
The Usain Bolt kind of start
Fast forward to the current 2018/19 season, all that seems to be changing. The new La Liga campaign has started off on a high note for Dembele as he has been in the thick of things in many of his team’s first few games. In his first three games for the club this season, Dembele has scored two goals, showing the quality that he can be key in easing the pressure off Lionel Messi and Suarez in terms of scoring as well as creating goals. Although he did not get a lot of game-time in France’s ridiculously talented squad during the recent world cup, Dembele has not let that affect him as he has began the new season on a high.
Most fans believe that Dembele’s growth at the club will be enhanced by having Lionel Messi supporting him. Barca’s main man is the central point of Barca’s every move thus Dembele should aim to learn more from the little Argentine magician in terms of both his decision-making and movement around the pitch. That way he will be able to exert himself properly and increase the confidence coach Ernesto Valverde has in him. What is more more, being surrounded by a great deal of other quality players such as Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez will certainly be beneficial for “Mosquito’s” development, More so ease the pressure that came with his price tag. On his best day, Dembele can embarrass the best of wing backs with his blistering pace and endless dribbling ability, which are some of the qualities that made the club gain interest in the player.
I personally consider Dembele to be in the top ten world’s best young players because of his raw talent. He is that type of player who has the potential to be the best player provided he gets the right mentoring and enough game time. Ernesto Valverde has been slowly throwing the Frenchman into the thick of things this season and I am sure most Barca supporters are enjoying that and would hope that they will see more of Dembele this season. After all, he is the fourth most expensive player on the planet and I am persuaded many would agree with me that Ousmane is certainly too good to rot on the bench. The 2018/2019 season seems to be the one for Dembele to finally stamp his authority and secure his place in the talented Barcelona squad.
Now more than ever
Barca seems to be in kind of a renaissance with loads of talent brought in the summer such as the 21-year-old Malcolm, Arturo Vidal, Lenglet and another Brazilian in Arthur. The old guns who carried Barcelona through many years of glory, that is the Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets, Pique and Messi have all moved on or are soon to depart and make way for the new. They seem to be figuring out a new style of play and Messi remains the stabilizing factor in the far from smooth transition period. Dropping seven points in the past three La Liga games against Girona, Leganes and Athletic Club, is so much unlike Barcelona. There is no better for Dembele to take some pressure over Messi and make an undisputed claim for a key role in the club that is reinventing itself.
Will he continue rising to the occasion? Should the new Barcelona be built around him? Have your say in the comment box below.