La Liga 'lacking star player' after Messi's Barcelona exit
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Ousmane Dembele looked set to be one of the casualties of Barcelona’s rebuild this summer. But after key talks with Barca chief Joan Laporta the Frenchman is set to stay and be a key part of Ronald Koeman’s plans.
Having signed from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of £123million, Dembele took his time to establish himself at the Nou Camp and excelled in the 2018-19 season with 14 goals in 32.
However, severe injuries followed and since then the skilful winger has only played 53 games, scoring 12 goals.
It is a far cry from the man who seemed to have all the talent in the world when he first onto the stage in 2015 with Rennes.
The general consensus on Dembele was that he was trying to be forced out of the club.
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Having cost a huge sum of money and only played a handful of games as a result, Koeman and his staff were prepared to cut their losses.
But after holding crunch talks with Barca boss Laporta, the Frenchman seems destined to stay in Catalonia following his injury woes.
With Lionel Messi gone and Barca focusing more on the long-term with Pedri, Ansu Fati and Frankie de Jong, Dembele still has time to be a key part of the Barcelona squad.
And Laporta has backed him to do so in a heartwarming interview.
“The relationship is very good. He feels loved at the club, we want him to stay,” Laporta said to MARCA.
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“We will look out for the interest of both parties, he has changed his shirt number.”
Dembele continues to make the French national team despite his indifferent form, something he will look to keep up with more playing time likely.
But the Frenchman may feel he must prioritise his club before his country if he is to get a regular run of games.
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“He has told me that he wants to get back on the pitch and defend Barcelona’s shirt,” he continued.
“We will make sure he plays, that he plays often and that what has happened [with his injuries] doesn’t happen again. The club have a plan.”
Barcelona have started life brilliantly in La Liga, winning two of their three games.
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