Barcelona were powerless to prevent Neymar moving for a world record transfer fee €222 million to Paris Saint-Germain during the summer transfer window.
What followed was the Catalan club struggling to negotiate with Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho before settling on a €105 million deal to sign Ousmane Dembele for Borussia Dortmund.
The French international had only shone in the German Bundesliga for one season after his move from Rennes, and had only made his professional debut two years before becoming the second most expensive player in the world at the age of 20.
Whilst the youngster will have enormous pressure on his shoulders, simply playing at Camp Nou for the Spanish giants alone is enough, but add comparisons between him and Neymar will only make it harder.
Perhaps the Brazilian’s performances and goals during his three years in Barcelona will be tainted by the way he departed from the club. It left a bitter taste in the mouth of many fans.
Ousmane Dembele is a gifted player – blessed with pace and great dribbling ability. He creates several chances, despite being fairly selfish with the ball at times. He also has an eye for goal, though not as great in that department as Neymar.
Barcelona’s big summer signing is arguably the best man for the job in replacing Neymar. He has the ability and age on his side; now he needs to continue his development and contribute to the team.
Dembele is certainly a better acquisition than what Philippe Coutinho is capable of producing. It was strange to many that the Liverpool player was linked to the club, and even more bizarre that they different accept an offer given what his value is compared to what the La Liga club were offering.
Barcelona do still have Gerard Deulofeu, Arda Turan and Paco Alcacer on their books to offer as backup to the French international.
Matching Neymar’s goal tally should not be the task of Ousmane Dembele, but contributing to the attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in drawing defenders out of position, creating and scoring goals, and ultimately, helping his team to victory – he’s certainly capable of doing that.