Ousmane Dembele hasn’t hidden from the fact that five year so this career have been wasted. But the current form of the Frenchman has little to do with anything that has come in his previous seasons as a Barcelona player.
The winger arrived in 2017, and he only began to show anything like good form under Ronald Koeman. With Xavi Hernandez, though, he has found his best form since arriving in Catalonia and the coach is convinced he can be the best in the world in his position.
A lot of hype surrounded Dembele‘s signing, but injuries stopped him from ever taking off. He missed 27 games in his first season.
His second season was a little better, but still missed 13. In all, he took part in 42 that term. He didn’t do well in training though and Ernesto Valverde had to take action, and so he was left out of matchday squads.
Forty-four games with Koeman
Ronald Koeman took over at Barcelona in 2020 and Dembele started to change. He played 44 times for the Dutchman that season, and that remains the campaign in which he had the fewest injury problems and the most time on the pitch. He missed just six games, and something was starting to change.
But injury returned to haunt him, and he was injured with France and had to undergo surgery.
Xavi‘s arrival meant a big turn was coming.
Ten months injury free
Dembele has had some slight discomfort on occasion under Xavi, but as of yet he hasn’t had any real injury problems. In fact, it’s been 10 months – since November 2021 – that he’s been free of problems.
Dembele has played 31 games since then in all competitions, and that comes despite the club ‘punishing’ him for not renewing his contract.
He’s been in fine form last year, building on his 13 assists last season, and has only been on the bench once. Other than that, he’s been a fixture in the starting XI. Even on the day after his dough was born, he wanted to play.
So far, he has two goals and four assists, and finally seems to have clicked into gear and found his place at Barcelona.