Barcelona are hoping that Manchester City will sign Ousmane Dembele to facilitate their own attempts to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, according to reports from Spain.
Don Balon reported that Barcelona are trying to convince the Premier League champions that the France international would be an ideal replacement for Leroy Sane, who according to The Mirror, remains on Bayern Munich’s wishlist.
Don Balon’s report claimed that Dembele has angered his current employers in recent months with physical problems and multiple acts of indiscipline.
According to Caught Offside, Barcelona are counting on Manchester City to sign the 22-year-old so that the potential capture of Neymar would not run the risk of flouting Financial Fair Play regulations.
An injury-curtailed first season limited him to just four goals and eight assists from 23 games, but he enjoyed a more fruitful 2018/19 campaign, scoring 14 times and providing nine assists in 42 appearances.
Dembele can operate on either wing and has also played multiple times in a number 10 role. He is adept at bringing the ball with him and taking on opponents, averaging 2.3 dribbles per game, while his ability to cut in from the flanks and set up chances has helped him to record a match average of 1.6 key passes (as per WhoScored).
In an interview with Sport, Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi called him a “phenomenon“, adding that “it’s up to him where he ends up; he could be one of the best.”
However, Dembele’s attitude can sometimes be questionable. At times last season, he arrived two hours late for training, was admonished publicly by team-mates and fined for his indiscipline, as reported by Sport.
Last season, he had better scoring returns than Manchester City wingers Bernardo Silva (13 goals in 51 games) and Riyad Mahrez (12 goals in 44 games), but wasn’t as prolific as Sane (16 goals in 47 games) or Sterling (25 goals in 51 games) (via Transfermarkt).
His dribbling average was marginally beaten by Sterling (2.4 per game) in 2018/19 but exceeded Sane’s 1.8 dribbles per game, the German recording the second-highest score for this metric at Manchester City.
Dembele may have earned glowing praise from Messi, but his statistics are not all that greater than those of Manchester City’s current wide attackers.
Both Sane and Sterling were more prolific last season, while his previous indiscretions could make Pep Guardiola reluctant to bring him to the Etihad Stadium.
Dembele is quite good but not a whole lot better than what the Premier League champions already have in attack, so they don’t need to spend £94m on him just because Barcelona seemingly want him off their books.
Manchester City fans, do you think Dembele would be an upgrade on Guardiola’s current attacking options? Give us your views in the comments section below!
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