Koeman insists Dembele is ‘an important player’ for Barcelona despite rumours of a move away

Cameron Smith
Koeman insists Dembele is ‘an important player’ for Barcelona despite rumours of a move away

Ousmane Dembele is now into his fourth season at Barcelona, and it’s fair to say that his £121 million move from Borussia Dortmund hasn’t exactly gone as planned.

He has suffered 10 separate injuries at the Camp Nou, missing a total of 85 games through injury during his time at the club.

He was signed as Neymar’s replacement at Barcelona, and he has not lived up to his predecessor as of yet. However, this season, he’s been given a run in the side by Ronald Koeman, and he appears to have somewhere near the form he displayed so for Dortmund.

Having played just five games and scored one goal in La Liga during 2019/20, Dembele has racked up 23 league games, five goals and two assists this term and Koeman seems to like him.

His winner against Real Valladolid last night was priceless and it keeps Barcelona in the hunt for La Liga title with Atletico Madrid faltering in recent weeks.

Speaking after the game, Koeman praised the French forward, saying: “He’s an important player.

“He has shown that with his performance and goal and he gave us the three points.

“He’s had a very good season, he has improved a lot. Regularity has been the key for him.”

Could Dembele still be on the move?

Dembele’s current contract expires in the summer of 2022, and it’s understood that Barcelona would accept any sizeable bid that came in for him this summer, with the risk of losing him for free next year too great, especially considering how much they paid for him in the first place.

Manchester United and Liverpool are reportedly interested in the Frenchman, and despite Koeman’s recent praise, it’s certainly feasible that Dembele will leave the club this summer.

However, with Barcelona still at risk of losing Lionel Messi for free in a few months time, Dembele may well be needed to handle the burden left by the Argentine legend, and so a move away may not materialise; it will all depend on his form from now until the end of the season.