Miles Olusina breaks down the abilities of the canny Barcelona and France winger Ousmane Dembélé as he embarks on his new Catalan adventure.

As the 2016/17 flavour drew to a shut and Real Madrid clinched their second consecutive Champions League title, their Catalan rivals could just await on in thwarting as they had to settle for a Copa del Rey in manager Luis Enrique’s final season at the helm. The worst was yet to come as Barcelona suffered a blow which looked to have paved the style for Real Madrid’s dominance of Spanish football game for years to come. All seemed lost as Neymar, the presumptive heir to Lionel Messi, was allowed to leave for Paris Saint-Germain for a earth tape fee of £198m.

With fans becoming disgruntled and the gild failing to country principal target Philippe Coutinho, serious activeness was required and that was indeed what occurred with the acquisition of wunderkind Ousmane Dembélé from Dortmund. At just 20 years sometime, he was exactly the role player they needed to fill the boots of Neymar, a skillful, unpredictable, decisive player with the potential to not only match but even potentially exceed the Brazilian in the almost future.

Who is Ousmane Dembélé ?

Born in Vernon, Normandy on the 15

May 1997 to Mauritian and Senegalese parents, Dembélé was picked upwardly by his first professional cub, Rennes at age 13 and fabricated an near firsthand impression. He initially began playing with the reserves in 2014,  making his debut in September and

providing an help confronting Guingamp. Later on an impressive 13 goals in 18 games that season, information technology quickly became apparent that he was ready to brand the step up to the first team.

He made his competitive debut equally a substitute early in the 2015-sixteen season, scoring

his beginning goal coming in

Nov 2015 against Bordeaux. It was non until March, however, when he truly grabbed the headlines, scoring a wonderful hat-fob against Nantes and driving his club’s late push for European football. He finished the flavour with 12 league goals in 26 games, becoming the youngest player in league history to reach double figures.

Talent Radar Accolades:

  • 100 to Watch in 2017

  • 2016-17 Bundesliga Squad of the Season

  • 2015-sixteen Ligue 1 Team of the Flavor

Europe’s leading clubs began to accept notice; he attracted interest from Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester Urban center and Bayern Munich to but name a few. He eventually joined Dortmund in July 2016 for what seemed a paltry €15m, a sum perhaps driven by the links between Rennes and the German order via Puma. It did not take long for him to have Dortmund fans off their seats equally he put in a number of mesmerizing performances against some of Europe’southward meridian sides. Last season, he scored ten goals and racked up an incredible 20 assists across all competitions, prompting Barca to pay an astonishing €105m to bring him to the Army camp Nou.

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What is his Style of Play?

Dembélé can all-time be described as a expert, creative winger who is at his well-nigh effective in i-on-i situations. He can be a real nightmare for opposition full backs, as he is very skilled in dribbling past opponents, evidenced by his 105 completed have-ons in the Bundesliga terminal season, coming at a 57% success charge per unit. He also tends to operate frequently in the half spaces, playing between the wing and the central area of the pitch. It is here thar he tends to notice pockets of space to receive the ball and accelerate, giving him a ameliorate chance of beating his total dorsum every bit he cuts inside.

He is non necessarily an out-and-out goalscorer, despite displaying the power to do and so equally evinced past his goal tallies to engagement. Rather, his game is based more effectually being a more artistic presence, whether that be from crosses, cut backs or through balls in the terminal 3rd. His game likewise allows his teammates to find more infinite on the pitch; when he receives possession he often has multiple defenders looking to press him, potentially freeing his teammates.

Additionally, Dembélé’south competence with both feet allows him to play on either fly and makes him somewhat unpredictable as he has the option of cutting inside and shooting, combining with a player in the centre,  beating his defender on the flank and putting in a cantankerous from a broad area

What are his Strengths?

Dembélé’s nearly axiomatic strength is without a dubiousness his dribbling ability. He has shown time and again to be capable of cartoon defenders in and skipping past them with footstep. He has shown this skill in a diverseness of ways, playing both on the counter and when his side is in possession. His step on the wing is impressive just he is also able to crush multiple players cutting inside from broad areas. This makes him a valuable, multivalent nugget in the terminal 3rd in the event his team struggle to suspension down a stubborn defensive block.

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Ane would do well to remember an example of this final season; confronting Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal semifinal, he received the ball on the wing and was immediately surrounded past 3 Bayern players.

He bypassed the first challenge well, using his trunk to shield the ball well from Mats Hummels as the German attempts to win the brawl from backside him. The next two challenges he evades are even more impressive as he exhibits his brilliant agility, shifting his body weight rapidly in order to shell Jerome Boateng’s initial challenge and and so that of Xabi Alonso. In that instance, the chance went begging, but Dembélé’s power to befuddle 2 of the world’s better centre backs in the same instance was impressive indeed.

Some other case of his brilliant dribbling ability was on display England in the jump. France were in transition after an England corner and the ball fell to Dembélé on the touchline, relatively deep in his own half. Taking on Kyle Walker, he took an intelligent outset touch to knock information technology past the England right back, then retrieved the brawl, a feat fabricated all the more than impressive by the fact he had kept possession in such a congested area.

This example also highlights his incredible step, every bit he was able to retrieve possession against one of the Premier League’due south quickest fullbacks. It likewise highlights his usefulness in transition as he has the ability to travel with the ball over long distances with speed and crush his defender, making him an ideal player to have when on the counter set on.

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In addition to beingness a wonderful dribbler, Dembélé besides has a great understanding of the game in terms of his positioning and his movement.

He can be oft seen in games occupying those same half spaces as opposed to staying on the touchline to isolate the full back, as most players with his skill set would do. He prefers to operate in the half space every bit it allows him more time and space on the brawl every bit many teams neglect this surface area with their defensive positioning. Every bit a effect, he is able to receive possession and pick out a laissez passer or accelerate to give himself an advantage in beating his defender. It also allows him to still be connected to his teammates in the middle thus making him more able to combine and play ane twos with them.

What are his Weaknesses?

As a player with such immense ability, information technology can be quite difficult to pinpoint many weaknesses in Dembélé’s game. Even so, he does tend to misplace quite a few passes, achieving a paltry 66% laissez passer completion rate in the Bundesliga last season. This is quite understandable as he does tend to play riskier passes merely it pales in comparison to other attackers in the side such as Mario Gotze (83%), Marco Reus (77%) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (71%). One cannot complain about his productivity though, as he managed a total of xx assists last season, by far the highest in the side. His passes tend to go astray in the final third predominantly as his final ball is oft intercepted. He appears to rush his laissez passer when in the final third, which could mean that his conclusion making still needs to improve. He could disguise his passes more effectively, making it more difficult for the defender to anticipate but at only 20, 1 would expect that will improve as he gains more experience and learns from the best in the next few years at Barcelona.