Ousmane Dembele’s new injury is a huge blow for a player who has been plagued by fitness issues since he arrived at the Camp Nou.
The Frenchman was the club’s main hope and their answer to Neymar’s departure in the summer of 2017, as they paid 105 million euros for him – plus a potential 40m euros in add-ons, 20m euros of which are quite easy to achieve. Barcelona had previously said “no” to the demand from Borussia Dortmund of 90m euros, but then the pressure saw them give in to what the German club wanted.
Two and a half years later, it’s clear that this has been a disastrous investment. Dembele took time to adapt to the club, with the player turning up late for training, staying up late at night and having bad nutrition. Then there’s also the long list of injuries. From the start, it hasn’t gone well.
Dembele’s Barcelona journey is now reaching an end point. The Catalan club have to look for an exit for him in the summer, once he’s recovered from the latest injury. It wouldn’t make sense for him to stay for another year after all that has happened in the past three seasons.
With the Blaugrana desperately needing funds if they are to make new signings, those in charge at the Camp Nou know that it’s time for them to bring in some money for the player. He has two more years on his contract, but waiting for one more year could then see them have to move the player on when he has just one year left on his deal. That would significantly reduce his price tag.
Even now, it won’t be easy to find a landing spot for Dembele given his injury history. What’s in his favour is his young age, at the age of just 22, and his clear quality.