Is there any way back for Ousmane Dembélé? Despite the Frenchman clearly being a decent prospect, many factors have made this question quite relevant. For sure, the next campaign will be a determinant for his complicated and contrasting Barça career.
Undeniably, Ousmane is one of the most gifted players of his generation. The 24-year-old thrives in space, his dazzling pace making him an unstoppable force when given time and room. One on one against defenders, it’s Dembélé’s deceptive feints and fake shots that allow him to run circles around the opponent. To top it off, he possesses a very unique quality in the modern game, ambidexterity. A reasonable skillset to say the least.
Yet a player is defined not by his starting qualities, but by his progression and tendency to constantly push the limit. There comes a time when people expect you to mature cope with subtle and increasingly difficult tasks. Yet that transition has proven a struggle for Dembélé, as he’s barely shown any progress since joining Barcelona. And while part of that is down to his endless injuries, it also comes down to a general lack of evolutionary tendencies.
No longer a ‘Youngster’
Ousmane is already 24, yet his game doesn’t indicate any maturity. He still has to polish many facets of his game. For the type of winger that he is, diagonal runs in depth are essential, yet we’ve barely witnessed those on the Frenchman’s part. Dembélé also evidently lacks composure and creativity in spatial enclosure, as well as the reactivity so crucial in isolation. His lack of interest in pressing and defending, or even the absence of thereof, suggest that the issue also lies in mentality.
As blunt as it may sound, it doesn’t look like Ousmane Dembélé has developed a footballing IQ up to the required standard of top-tier football. Over the years, his tasks on the field have been overly simplified, but he won’t move forward that way. One last chance to shine for the troublesome Frenchman.