Since arriving in Catalonia, Ousmane Dembélé’s career hasn’t gone as expected. Before moving he was tipped to be Neymar’s direct replacement but he hasn’t come close to replacing the Brazilian. Although he’s shown glimpses of quality, injuries have hindered the Frenchman from fulfilling his true potential. Now it’s reported that Arsenal could offer Ousmane Dembélé an escape route from the Nou Camp.
The 20-year-old made a move to Barcelona last summer from Borussia Dortmund in a deal that could eventually rise up to £135.5million. Such an expensive signing hasn’t materialised its worth in any form. The club’s 2nd most expensive signing ever has only made 12 appearances this season, not a scoring once in a competitive game and only assisting once in the league. That return hasn’t gone down well amongst the Barcelona faithful and the general atmosphere across the club forced them to spend more in January.
The signing of Philippe Coutinho in January indicates that Ernesto Valverde still didn’t feel the league leaders had sufficient attacking depth. Even with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi up front, the 54-year-old believed they still needed a third to complete a front three. Ousmane Dembélé was meant to operate in that role instead, Philippe Coutinho has completed that attacking trio.
This chemistry between the South American trio has meant Ousmane Dembélé’s place at the Nou Camp is unsure, generating ample amounts of speculation about his future. According to Don Balon via The Express, Arsenal’s new record signing Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has convinced his new boss Arsène Wenger to make a move for the 20-year-old winger. The Gabonese international believes the 20-year-old is one of Europe’s top prospects and at the Emirates, he could re-discover that golden form.
Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang has fond memories of playing with Ousmane Dembélé at Borussia Dortmund. In his time at the Westfalenstadion, the youngster scored 10 goals and provided 21 assists in 49 appearances, that’s a contribution of 0.6 goals per game. He was a shining spark for Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund, operating on the right in an electric attacking line-up.
What does he excel at?
For those who don’t know, Ousmane Dembélé is arguably the world’s most exciting winger. Unlike wide forwards like Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman, Dembélé prefers to perform from the right instead of being an inverted winger. His electric pace, unstoppable acceleration, wizardry dribbling, deft defying agility and excellent decision making have set him apart from his peers in the same age bracket, including Kylian Mbappé.
The winger prefers to create rather than score himself, this has led people to doubt his killer instinct, that’s why his goalscoring tally has always been low. At Arsenal, that creating trait would help the Gunners provide more service for star striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang.
The major stumbling block to a Dembélé to Arsenal deal would be in the form of pricing. It’s reported that Arsenal would only be willing to offer an initial transfer fee of £53million. It’s literally unfathomable to believe that Barcelona would accept such a low fee when they paid almost double for the Frenchman just over 6 months ago. Barcelona would most likely want to recoup the record fee they paid. To stand a chance of signing Dembele, Arsenal will have to be ready to significantly go past the £56m paid for Aubameyang last month.
In addition, Arsenal just signed both Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in the same season, those two players have cost Arsenal in excess of £100million. Then when we factor in their wages and the salary packet of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal’s finances have taken a major hit. From a tactical perspective, how would Arsène Wenger even fit all these players into one team? Especially when you consider the fact that Henrikh Mkhitaryan prefers to play on the right too, who would get dropped out of the two?
It’s all well and good the Gunners targeting another quality attacking player but if they don’t sort out their defence, it will be in vain. If Arsène Wenger wants to maximise the impact of Ousmane Dembélé, he should bring in the sufficient defensive reinforcements.