Do Dembélé's numbers pardon his Barcelona indiscretions?
The Frenchman is one of the most effective players in the blaugrana colours this season, and some suggest that this should counter his disciplinary record.
Ousmane Dembélé arrived in Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for 150 million euros, give or take. He impressed at Dortmund and big things were, and are, expected of him. More recently, though, it's big questions that are being asked about whether his talent is worth his continued acts of indiscipline at the club.
Dembélé: asset or liability
On Wednesday morning the French winger arrived at the Ciutat Esportiva training ground within the agreed margins (just after 10:20), something that came with a sense of relief for the technical team, who are sadly rather accustomed to his tardiness.
After his superb goal in the Champions League draw with Tottenhan Hotspur, Dembélé had been warmly congratulated by his teammates following the full-time whistle. It seems like with that goal he can find forgiveness for other misgivings from them, at least. Even the day before, on Monday, Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, among others, had joked with Dembélé, who always wore a smile, although who kept his head down with the apology.
The fine imposed on him by the club for his actions - over 100,000 euros, with a potential to be doubled or tripled - should have served as the start of the solution for Ernesto Valverde, who has found it difficult to fit the player into his side. But any anger was concluded, for the moment, with a wry smile after that run and goal.
Ousmane's goals and assists
There are a multitude of star footballers who have not always followed the rules. Some would say that rebelious nature is directly linked to their genius. And one of the questions being asked now is if Dembélé's impact on the field should pardon his behaviour off it. His influence this season cannot be ignored, scoring and assisting in many of the games he's played. To be more precise, in the 20 matches in which he has featured (14 in LaLiga, four in the Champions League, one in the Copa del Rey and another in the Super Cup), the winger has scored nine and provided five assists.
Whether or not those figures are enough to see Valverde and the club want to hold onto the 21-year old, potentially developing him into a mainstay for the club, we will find out in due course. Reports suggest that there is certainly some serious interest from a number of Europe's big clubs to take him off their hands with a view to polishing the rough diamond. Either way, the question remains: does it send the right message to treat a potential young star differently to the rest of the team?
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