Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is a considerably better footballer than the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The former Catalonian star joined Paris Saint-Germain for £191m in 2017, while his successor relocated from Borussia Dortmund for £90.7m during the same window.
Dembele or Neymar? Five key things to know…
- During his time at the Camp Nou, Neymar scored 105 goals and registered 76 assists in 186 matches.
- The Brazilian superstar won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and one Champions League trophy during his four-year stint.
- Dembele meanwhile has bagged 18 goals and 16 assists in 59 matches.
- That means Neymar directly contributed to a goal nearly every match (0.97 per game) while Dembele currently contributes at a rate of 0.58 per game.
- Despite this Bartomeu remains adamant Dembele is “much better” than Neymar.
Since pitching up at Le Parc des Princes, Neymar has secured a myriad of domestic titles but has also been consistently linked with a move back to La Liga.
Real Madrid have long-been associated with the twinkle-toed Paulistano’s name, while Barca have also been mooted to make a move to bring the Brazilian back to Catalonia.
However, Bartomeu says no such transfer will take place as the club are currently embarking on a “sporting project”, with Dembele and Philippe Coutinho at the forefront of their enterprise.
“It’s not possible for Neymar to come to Barcelona as we have another sporting project with Dembele and [Philippe] Coutinho,” Bartomeu told TVE ahead of Barca’s Champions League quarter-final second leg match against Man Utd.
“We are happy with what we have, as Dembele is better than Neymar and he is a good professional player.
“He is a young guy who arrived at a huge club and that’s not easy, but he has adapted and he is much better than Neymar.”
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‘Coutinho can go if clubs meet his release clause’
The future of Coutinho has been a question of debate this season with the diminutive Brazilian struggling to replicate his Anfield form since signing from Liverpool in January 2018.
As such he has been linked with a move back to the Premier League, but Bartomeu has stressed that any such scenario would only come to fruition if clubs meet his bumper release clause – believed to be in the region of £355m.
He said: “Coutinho is an excellent player and he has the coach’s confidence.
“He has contract with us and he will remain at the team, unless they meet his release clause.”