Friday, November 15, 2019

Dembele ´not at all threatened´ by potential Neymar return to Barcelona

SoccerNews in La Liga 21 Aug 2019

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Ousmane Dembele “doesn’t feel at all threatened” by the possibility of Neymar going back to Barcelona, the forward’s agent has said.

Speculation persists over Neymar’s future at Paris Saint-Germain, with the latest reports saying Barca have had a bid of a two-year loan with an option to buy rejected by the Ligue 1 champions.

Should the Brazil star secure a return to Camp Nou, though, it is likely to leave Dembele’s position in the first team unclear, with the France international struggling for consistency and fitness since his move from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105million in 2017.

However, his representative, Moussa Sissoko, says Neymar’s future will have no impact on Dembele’s determination to succeed with the Spanish champions.

“When you are a high-level sportsman, you have to accept that you are praised but also subjected to criticism,” he told RMC Sport. “[Dembele] is focused on his goals, and he knows what he has to do in order to succeed at Barca.

“He doesn’t feel at all threatened. When you play for Barca, you expect there to be competition. Neymar or anyone else – he does not care about that and [only] cares about what he has to do.”

Sissoko says there has been interest in Dembele but that all those clubs, PSG included, have been told the player has no desire for a transfer.

“We received notice of interest from big clubs,” he said. “But we were clear on the fact that he did not want to leave. I told them from the start that he wants to succeed at Barcelona. The door is closed, and Paris or any other club are aware of our intentions.

“In our plans, he wants to stay and all his work is towards that. We are working on that.”

Dembele was diagnosed with a hamstring injury this week that is likely to keep him out for over a month, furthering suggestions his lifestyle is hampering his fitness and professional development.

His former chef told Le Parisien on Wednesday: “Ousmane is a good guy but he doesn’t have control of his life. He lives with his uncle and his best friend, who don’t dare say anything to him. It’s a crazy life.

“I’ve never seen him drink alcohol but he doesn’t respect his rest times, there’s no professional structure around him.”

However, when asked about those comments, Sissoko said: “I do not want to give an advertisement to the chef who criticised him. Ousmane chose him, and it’s me who stopped working with him, because he didn’t correspond to what we wanted.”

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