Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why Ousmane Dembele Makes Perfect Sense For FC Barcelona

Juan Pablo Aravena in Bundesliga, Editorial, La Liga 8 Aug 2017

Ousmane Dembele FC Barcelona

Ousmane Dembele would be a perfect signing for FC Barcelona – Credit: Getty Images

Football fans all over the world are set to see lots of changes in FC Barcelona this upcoming season. And there will be more than the absence of Neymar, who signed for PSG on a world-record €222 million deal.

Los Blaugranas will also look quite different from a tactical point of view. During the 2016-17 campaign, FC Barcelona played with a clear 4-3-3 system. It featured one DM, two CMs, and the three-headed monster of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar upfront. But things will change in the upcoming season after the appointment of Ernesto Valverde as manager.

Valverde often used a 4-2-3-1 system during his tenure with Athletic Bilbao. That’s the same tactic he will use with the Camp Nou outfit, so we are set to see a different team this weekend, when they take on Real Madrid on the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

Tactical Changes for FC Barcelona

Considering Barcelona are reportedly looking on the market to sign the replacement of Neymar, first we need to analyse the changes the team will have this upcoming season. The defensive line will remain with a steady four-man line, but as soon as we step into midfield, we can start seeing changes.

Instead of playing with a DM and two CMs, instead Barca will use two central midfielders. One is expected to feature on a more defensive stance, so Sergi Roberto and Sergio Busquets will battle for that role. And considering the other CM will be slightly more attacking-minded, we have elements such as Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, and Andre Gomes capable of filling that role.

The three-man line in front of them will feature Lionel Messi either on the right or the centre. And since Barcelona are looking at Ousmane Dembele as Neymar’s replacement, it makes sense to see how the winger would potentially fit at Camp Nou.

Where Does Dembele Fit In That Picture?

Not surprisingly, the 20-year-old winger fits perfectly in what Valverde wants to do. Even though Dembele is known for being a versatile player capable of lining up all over the attacking third, his best moments for both Rennes and Dortmund have come on the wings. He has played on both flanks, but he is better suited to move through the right side.

According to Transfermarkt, Dembele registered nine appeareances on the right wing and contributed with two goals and five assists. He also played as an attacking midfielder in 23 games talling five goals and seven assists. He was quite productive as a left winger as well, with two goals and nine helpers in 15 appearances.

That would be the role Dembele would fit in Barcelona. Considering Lionel Messi will operate either through the centre or the right, the left winger spot is up for grabs. And Dembele can certainly fill that role. What gives him an edge over the other potential signings is that he knows the role perfectly, unlike Paulo Dybala or Philippe Coutinho. Both are far more attacking-minded than the French international. And that could potentially leave a huge void on the team’s defensive scheme.

Why Dembele Makes Perfect Sense For Barca

Make no mistake – Dembele is not the most talented player in the world. In fact, he is years away from being even half as good as Neymar is right now. But on Valverde’s system, there is a high chance Dembele is a better fit than the Brazilian.

And if we consider the kind of talent Barca have on their squad, they don’t need another Neymar. They just need someone who can fit and connect with the rest of the stars. The rest will happen on its own.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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