Borussia Dortmund have made it clear that Ousmane Dembélé could be sold this summer, if Barcelona are willing to match their valuation. After a frustrating summer, the door is now wide open for Barcelona to land one of their top transfer window targets before the window closes.
Reports claim Dortmund want €150 million, but this only raises more questions. The angle with Dembélé isn’t if Dortmund will sell him any longer. Now that they’ve made a line in the sand, the vital question to the situation becomes if Barcelona should meet the price.
There are three ways to look at the question in my opinion. The first is to simply look at the going rate for talent in the transfer market, and evaluate if Dembélé is worth €150m. The second way to answer the question is to look at the €222m Barcelona received in Neymar’s transfer, and evaluate how Dembele’s transfer fits into their transfer budget. The third way is to simply look at where he would fit into Barcelona’s squad, regardless of the cost.
1. Is Dembélé worth €150m based on the current transfer market?
In examining Dembélé’s worth it’s important to consider that most of the value in a player like him is what type of player he will grow into in the years to come. Purchasing Romelu Lukaku or Neymar is mostly paying for what the player is at the moment of the transfer. Based on each one of those example’s current talent, a very valid argument could be made that based on their transfer fees, Manchester United and PSG got a player that is worth the funds at the moment the transfer went through.
Looking at Dembélé’s transfer through the lens of his worth is a somewhat easy choice for me. Based on what I’ve seen from Dembélé already, combined with age, he’s still just 20 remember, I believe he’s worth €150m. If you were paying for the player that Dembélé is currently, he obviously isn’t worth nearly that amount.
However, talent and potential cost a vast sum of money in today’s transfer market. The fees that the likes of Marco Asensio and Kylian Mbappe fetch put into perspective what teams will pay for a player that has shown flashes of brilliance, combined with the youthful inexperience they still possess.
2. If Barcelona are on a budget this summer in terms of transfers, is spending €150m on Dembélé the best use of funds?
Buying Paulinho for €40m drops the Neymar funds down to €182m. So if staying in Barcelona’s plan this summer, paying €150m for Dembélé becomes a bit tougher to justify. Unless you believe he is indeed going to replace Neymar on the field positionally and in terms of production in the next couple years.
It’s also puzzling that Arda Turan, Thomas Vermaelen, Douglas Pereira, Munir El-Haddadi, and Sergi Samper are all still Barcelona players. The mood has seemingly been that some of these players would be leaving, only adding to the funds that Barcelona have at their disposal.
Given the game of chicken and egg Barcelona seem to be playing with buying and selling players, evaluating Dembélé’s worth in the scope of Barcelona’s budget is a bit more difficult. If he is the primary signing this summer and they don’t plan to get a player more adapt at playing on the left side, then I don’t think the €150m is the best use of the funds at their disposal.
3.Disregarding cost, is Dembélé a fit for Barcelona’s current scheme?
While having played some on the left, Dembélé’s primary function at Dortmund has been on the right. His natural talent and youth make it possible to morph him into an out-and-out left winger. It remains to be seen how Barcelona would want to use him should the transfer take place.
Dembélé would be a fit for Barcelona regardless of position in my opinion. Talent trumps scheme at a certain level, and Dembélé reaches that level. His speed and raw talent make him someone that Lionel Messi and Barcelona can mould into the next great Barcelona talent.
At just 20 years old, Ousmane Dembélé is a tantalizing prospect. What makes him so appealing, even at €150m, is not only his unrealized talent, but what he has already done while playing at Dortmund. His experience already against top tier teams makes him a natural player to slide right into Barcelona’s squad and produce while continuing to develop.
Sign the lad up Barcelona.