New Barcelona signing Ousmane Dembele has denied that his €105million price tag places him under extra pressure to perform.
The 20-year-old has agreed a five-year contract in a deal that could cost as much as €145m, shattering the previous club-record fee Barca paid Liverpool to sign Luis Suarez in 2014.
But Dembele, whose official presentation at Camp Nou took place on Monday shortly after he completed a medical, says significant sums are now to be expected in the transfer market.
“I’m not under pressure,” he told a media conference. “The transfer market is a little crazy, but I’m here to do my job well on the pitch and I’m not thinking about this sort of thing.”
Dembele was signed from Borussia Dortmund as a replacement for Neymar, who left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222m deal.
The France international, who has only had two seasons at senior level with Dortmund and Rennes, is expected to slot straight into head coach Ernesto Valverde’s first team and ease the damage caused by Neymar’s loss.
— Josep Maria Bartomeu (@jmbartomeu) August 28, 2017
But the forward is more concerned about learning from new team-mates Suarez and Lionel Messi than about the prospect of filling Neymar’s shoes.
“I’m excited to play with the best. My goal is to learn from the best, from Messi, from Suarez, and to win as many trophies as possible,” he said.
“It’s an honour, a pleasure to be able to play on a team with Messi. I want to see what he’s doing, he’s the best in the world, the best in history.
“It’s not extra pressure [to replace Neymar]. Of course, he is an excellent player but I’m young, I’m coming from my second season as a professional and I’m trying to grow.
“Barca needed a player in this position and they called me. But I come here to learn.”
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