Ousmane Dembele has already surprised manager Ronald Koeman in Barcelona training ahead of the new La Liga season.
The French forward is back to full fitness after a long spell out following surgery on a torn hamstring in February and will be hoping to make an impact in what will be his fourth season at the club.
According to Deportes Cuatro, Koeman is “convinced” that this will finally be Dembele’s season and has been “pleasantly surprised with the level” of the 23-year-old in pre-season.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 8, 2020
This could be Dembele’s last chance to prove himself at Barcelona before the club finally run out of patience with the youngster. Dembele has only managed 74 appearances in three years at the Camp Nou.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Dembele’s Time to Shine?
Koeman has already told Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, and Philippe Coutinho that he’s counting on the trio for next season. The three players have yet to repay their enormous transfer fees but look set for a second chance under the new Barca boss.
Dembele’s biggest problem since arriving from Borussia Dortmund for €105 million-plus add-ons has been staying fit. The winger has spent 512 days on the sidelines, had nine injuries, and missed 80 games during his time at Barcelona, according to Sport’s Didac Peyret.
The winger has not made a single appearance for Barcelona in 2020 because of injury but could be set for a key role under Koeman. The Dutch coach is expected to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Dembele able to feature on either flank.
Competition For Places is Fierce
Yet Dembele will face fierce competition for a place out wide. Francisco Trincao has arrived from Braga and will be hoping to impress in his debut season at the Camp Nou, while 17-year-old Ansu Fati is also an option.
The teenager offered another reminder of his talents for Spain on Sunday in the Nations League, becoming the youngest player to score for the national team with a goal against Ukraine.
🇪🇸 Ansu Fati. Remember the name!
✅ Youngest player ever to score for Spain
✅ Youngest player ever to score in Champions League
✅ Youngest player ever to score for Barcelona in Spanish Liga#NationsLeague | @ANSUFATI | @SeFutbol pic.twitter.com/gOMtT2TYDE
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2020) September 9, 2020
Barcelona also continue to be linked with a move for Lyon captain and Netherlands international Memphis Depay. The Dutch forward has already agreed personal terms with the Catalan giants, according to Fabrizio Romano.
Yet Dembele should be assured of a place in the starting XI next season if Koeman can get the best out of the Frenchman and keep him fit.