Ousmane Dembélé, from 'Mosquito' to 'Tsetse Fly' - for a king's ransom
On 24 August 2017, Barcelona signed the young French forward Osumane Dembélé from Borussia Dortmund for 105 million euros plus a further 40 million in various add-ons - out of which, the club has already paid the player five million for having completed 25 official games for the team and another five million for having qualified for this year's Champions League. To summarize, Barça have so far forked out 115 million for the player, not including the 12 million euros he receives as his salary - a tidy 9.6 million euros more than he took home when he was in Germany. Looking at it that way, you could say that Josep María Bartomeu has a 127 million euro problem in the blaugrana dressing room. Faced with such a scenario, there are only two options: sell him as soon as possible or try to get him back on track and fighting for the cause with everyone else.
The variables included in the contract which player and club signed are set to continue. Accordin to a report in Der Spiegel based on documents unearthed and published by Football Leaks, Barcelona must pay another five million euros in add-ons when the French forward reaches 50 official games (he's already on 38), a further five when he gets to 75 and an additional five million when he hits the 100-game mark. And it doesn't end there... if Barça qualify for next year's Champions League, there will be another five million euros on its way to Dembélé's bank account and if the team wins the Champions League twice while the player is in the squad, there will be a five million euro bonus due to the player and his previous club. And wait! there's more: if Barça win the treble, the winger's wages will be handed a 3.3 million euro pay rise on top of the 12 million he already earns (a pay increase which would be more than his salary when he was at Borussia). By the time that happens - if it happens, Dembélé's five-year contract would be up for renewal. All of that could be viewed as a bit of a problem - or a chance to save 28.3 million - about half the figure Ajax are asking for Frenkie de Jong give or take a couple of million.
Pros and cons
So Barcelona need to weigh up the player's attitude problems (which they don't want to highlight because if they do, no club will buy him) compared to the cost of keeping him. His talent and quality as a footballer are not in any doubt but the club is not convinced they can get the player to tow the line. But some observers have already changed his nickname from The Mosquito to The Tsetse Fly for other, more dubious characteristics - his skills at sucking others dry.