Analysis: How should Barcelona approach Ousmane Dembele’s future?

Analysis: How should Barcelona approach Ousmane Dembele’s future?

Few players will have experienced such a wide variety of situations at one club.

Arriving in 2017 following the departure of Neymar Junior, Ousmane Dembele was the excitement of Camp Nou when he arrived. Following that he became unprofessional, lazy, a pariah according to some, taking him to the brink of leaving the club. Xavi Hernandez took him under his wing, marking him out as the manager’s pet and their differential player in his first season. Boos turned to rampant backing, but his contract would expire with Dembele as a mercenary. Once again he is back in the good books at Camp Nou, but if there is one thing that his time at the club has taught us, it is that his situation will not remain the same for too long.

In July, he signed a two-year contract designed to give him the chance to triumph at Barcelona, but also allow him freedom to choose his future in the short term. As per Mundo Deportivo, he has a release clause of €50m. Reports have emerged that Chelsea may revive their interest in Dembele next summer, with the general feeling that his price tag is on the cheaper side.

Thus, Barcelona are once again faced with a decision to make on Dembele. Should they want to retain him long-term, then a new contract would be wise in order to give them security over his deal.

If they leave it until the summer, Dembele may be tempted or advised to run down his contract again, at which point his salary on the open market would be much higher, provided the performances back it up.

In order to make money on Dembele in the coming summer, they would likely be forced to accept an offer well below his €50m release clause. The Frenchman’s agent has shown that he is willing to see his client’s contract run down.

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is likely to fight in order to keep Dembele at the club. His success is Xavi’s success and the Catalan has kept faith in him through thick and thin. Dembele repaid him with 13 La Liga assists last season and this campaign he has 12 goal contributions in 20 matches.

No doubt, there will be elements within Barcelona that are reluctant to commit a hefty portion of their limited finances to the 25-year-old in order to secure his future. Dembele can still be inconsistent and there will always be a fear that he may break down again.

In addition, Barcelona are well-stocked in his position. Ferran Torres and Raphinha are both far more comfortable on the right side, two players that the Blaugrana have invested over €100m in.

It leaves Barcelona with a complex decision to make. It may well rely on Xavi more than anything else. So far he has been given power and resources that he has asked for since arriving, and if his credit remains, then there is a good chance Dembele will too.

The club may put it to Xavi as a Sophie’s choice; either jettison Dembele, or compromise on quality in other areas of the pitch. Otherwise Barcelona may have to consider selling one of Ferran or Raphinha within 18 months of their arrival.

Each outcome will have advantages and disadvantages – the Blaugrana will be hoping the events of the next few months on the pitch can clarify matters in their mind.

Source by Football Espana

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