Hello, denizens of Barca Blaugranes! I’m a writer for Fear the Wall, SB Nation’s Borussia Dortmund fan site. You can probably guess why I'm here.
Throughout this ongoing Ousmane Dembélé transfer saga, one thing has persistently confused me. Why are FC Barcelona so intent on overspending for Ousmane Dembélé? As someone who has watched nearly every minute that Dembélé has played this past season, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Here are the three reasons why I think buying Ousmane Dembélé for €150 Million would be a bad idea from Barcelona’s perspective:
· As of right now, Dembélé is nowhere near good enough to replace Neymar. Don’t get me wrong, he’s plenty talented, but to accomplish what they want to accomplish, Barça need the best of the best. Dembélé has flair, he’s fantastic at dribbling, and he gets plenty of assists, but he’s lightyears away from being a "complete player". His decision making is poor, his passing is poor, and he tends to disappear during big games, when there isn’t a low-tier full back he can pick on. If Barça are expecting him to help them compete with Real Madrid this season, they will surely be disappointed.
· Barça really need help in their midfield. To be candid, Busquets and Iniesta are past their prime and need to be replaced. Barcelona will not be the top-tier club that they want to be until they find replacements for them. they should spend the Neymar money on someone like Veratti, or two random midfielders that I'm just going to think of off the top of my head such as... Leon Goretzka and Naby Keita. If they dish out €150 million for Dembele, that's less money they have to spend on a midfielder.
· Barça can save money by waiting a year. In general, if you're buying a young player, the only reason to buy a player before he fully develops is to save money. With Dembele, however, they won't be able to accomplish this. Because of the Neymar transfer, they are going to be extorted for as much money as possible. Dortmund CEO Hans Joachim Watzke knows this, which is why he has not budged from the €150 Million price tag he set earlier in the summer. Next summer, this effect will likely dissipate, and Dembélé will have one less year on his contract. Thus, Dembélé will be cheaper: Barça could probably get him for around €100 million, maybe a hair more. Why should they hurry to buy him now?
I think the main reason why Barça are so desperate is because their board desperately needs a mega-transfer to improve morale at the club, to give the fanbase and the media the impression that they're "doing something". However, watching their €150 million Neymar replacement lazily turn the ball away and dribble into walls of defenders will only frustrate their fans more. This is just my opinion, though.
What they should do (or rather, should have done) instead is use some of that money to improve their midfield. They could have then gotten Dembele next year for 60% of what they would have paid this year. Instead, they chose to try and force a transfer from a club that had no interest in selling and that they had almost no leverage over, a decision which has simply blown up in their collective faces.
What should they do now? The best thing for them would be to do what they should have done in the first place: fix their most pressing issues, and come back for Dembele in a year or two. Assuming Dembele reconciles with Dortmund, he will become an even better player by the time they come for him.