“I forbid anyone to give the impression that I am not involved in the sporting project. I forbid anyone to attribute intentions to me that I have never had… still under contract, I am fully involved and at the disposal of my club and my coach.” – Ousmane Dembele
Dembele hasn’t enjoyed the best of times at Barcelona, with his time at the Nou Camp blighted by injuries. In recent months, things have turned quite nasty between the player and club with both sides accusing the other of dishonesty and the Catalan giants actively trying to sell Dembele in the January transfer window.
Dembele remains a Barcelona player for now though but with his contract expiring this summer, he’ll be looking at his options elsewhere. There is no doubting his talent but injuries and patchy form has certainly seen his stock fall from the heights of his time at Dortmund.
With links to various elite clubs across Europe, there is still firm interest in the Frenchman, but where will he end up? Let’s have a look at the dream, realistic and wildcard options for Dembele’s future.
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Dembele could well favour a move back to France with PSG likely to be his favoured destination. The French side have something of a stranglehold on French football and adding another attacking talent could help them crown their domestic dominance with a European trophy.
At first glance, the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar look to be quite an obstacle for Dembele. However, Mbappe’s future beyond the summer remains uncertain and Messi is failing to live up to his lofty standards set at Barcelona, meaning Dembele could find a long-term home at the Parc des Princes.
Dembele left his homeland in 2016 for Borussia Dortmund and with his journey not following the trajectory that many predicted, a return to France could be just what the attacking player needs to reignite his fledgling career.
It looks as though London will be Dembele’s most likely destination with links to long-time admirers Chelsea appearing as recently as the January transfer window. Deadline Day saw those rumours peak but a deal couldn’t be done before the window slammed shut, leaving Dembele stuck in limbo in Spain.
Dembele played under Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund so there is already a familiarity and an element of trust between the pair. That could prove a big lure for the Frenchman, who will also favour joining a club competing for multiple honours on a regular basis. Chelsea have reached every major final possible under Tuchel and Dembele certainly wouldn’t be averse to joining a club so closely associated with success.
Whilst playing time at PSG would be at a premium, Dembele would be as close to a guaranteed starter as possible at Chelsea. With the exception of Mason Mount, none of the Chelsea attacking players have really locked down their place in Tuchel’s starting eleven and that could leave plenty of opportunity for Dembele.
A move to England could well be on the cards for Dembele and Liverpool have also been linked with the Frenchman, albeit not as strongly as other sides. Their style of play would suit the wideman, with quick transitions and penetrative runs both high on his list of strengths.
Another wildcard option for Dembele is a move to Manchester United (4/1), but the 24-year-old is running out of time to kick-start his career and again may find his path to the first team blocked at Old Trafford.
He’d be given plenty of playing time under Jurgen Klopp, with the two working together previously at Dortmund, and the German could be key in getting the best from Dembele once more. Whilst it may not be the most obvious move for Dembele, or Liverpool, it could be one with unlimited potential for both sides.
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Will he stay at Barcelona?
The chances of Dembele staying at the Nou Camp next season look pretty slim with both sides less than satisfied with the current situation and Dembele seemingly happy to run his contract down. That probably suits Barcelona too, who will be very happy to get his reported £210k-a-week salary off their wage bill.