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BARCELONA

Dembélé: Tuchel keen on reunion with former Dortmund winger

The PSG boss got the best out of the France international in the Bundesliga and wants to work with him again if Neymar leaves Paris.

Thomas Tuchel y Ousmane Dembélé, durante su etapa en el Borussia Dortmund.
Michael Dalder Reuters

There are few coaches who know Ousmane Dembélé better than PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, who is well aware of what the France international is capable of on and off the pitch.

Tuchel was in charge at Borussia Dortmund when Dembélé essentially went on strike to force through a move to Barcelona in the summer of 2017, but in the season prior to that messy divorce the German tactician had brought the best out of an even younger, more immature and unpredictable player than the one who landed in Catalonia for a fee of 125m. One of the main reasons for Dembélé’s stance with Dortmund director Michael Zorc was the way that the Bundesliga club went about sacking Tuchel, which angered the Frenchman immensely.

I'm very disappointed because he was a coach who really built my confidence. Thomas was always there for me and he taught me a lot. He is a very good coach with whom we have had many great moments" Dembélé said at the time.

Up to that point, the marriage had indeed been extremely successful. In the 2016-17 season, their only campaign together in which Dortmund won the German Cup, Dembélé racked up a total of 21 assists in all competitions, underlining where his real strength lies.

Tuchel confident he can relight Dembélé's fire

Injuries and indiscipline have hampered his career at Camp Nou, where Dembélé has laboured under the shadow of Leo Messi and Luis Suárez and now faces a battle for his place with his international teammate Antoine Griezmann and Tuchel is under no doubt that he can rekindle the winger’s fire at the Parc des Princes.

Although the chances of Neymar arriving at Camp Nou this summer recede by the day, Tuchel has told the Parc des Princes hierarchy that he wants Dembélé to replace the Brazilian, even though PSG have turned down offers from the Liga champions that have included a loan arrangement for the France winger.

And according to Le Parisien, Tuchel called his former player personally on Wednesday to try and convince him to join PSG in the case that Neymar does leave before the window closes on 2 September. They say to never go back, but for Dembélé and Tuchel, it could be a perfect reunion.