Despite being one of the most talented young players in world football at one of the biggest clubs in world football, Ousmane Dembele just can’t seem to get things right.
The 21-year-old has, for the most part, performed well when he’s been on the pitch for Barcelona, yet his off-field behaviour means he doesn’t play the number of minutes his talent arguably deserves.
Dembele joined the club for €105m in the summer of 2017, coming as a replacement for the departing Neymar, but has been unable to nail down a regular place in the starting XI. The reasons for him doing so are downright ridiculous.
There are reports that the player is consistently late for both training and team meetings, leading to coach Ernesto Valverde having to make an example of him on more than one occasion. Dembele was recently left out of Barca’s matchday squad altogether for their clash against Real Betis, with it seeming that patience from the club is beginning to wear particularly thin.
The excuses have even extended to Dembele turning up two hours late for training after he overslept in the aftermath of a night binging playing online games. There is even speculation that Dembele has a gaming addiction, which is often interfering with his ability to progress with Barcelona.
It’s pretty dumbfounding how a player with such talent and such an incredible platform to display that talent can put it to waste for the sake of playing video games. He is in one of the greatest cities in Europe, yet spends seemingly the majority of his time within his own home and potentially disrupting his career for something which really has no end goal.
Playing for Barcelona is an opportunity many professionals would kill for, yet this is a player who is perhaps unaware of what an error in judgement he is currently making. Currently, Dembele is priced at 1/6 with SkyBet to remain with Barcelona in January, but those odds could come in dramatically if his behaviour persists.
There is already rumours that Barcelona are considering recouping as much of that €105m fee as possible in the near future, with both Liverpool and Arsenal interested. The longer this behaviour continues, the lower his value will become and they may still be able to get a significant chunk of that fee back if they strike while the iron’s hot.
At present, he is 7/1 to go to Arsenal, while Liverpool are 9/1 to add the French forward to their squad. Whatever happens, Dembele needs to get his act in order and fast, or face what would most likely be the greatest regret of his career.