Ousmane Dembele became the second-most expensive player ever as he signed for a club record fee from Borussia Dortmund to FC Barcelona. The winger cost a staggering 105 million euro, plus 42 million in variables.
It’s hard to know what’s expensive anymore in this crazy inflated market. That said, it’s true that Dembele’s price is unusually high. Likely, this happened because of circumstance. Barcelona have so much cash from the Neymar sale, and the transfer window is closing soon. Their negotiating position wasn’t the strongest.
Yet, if we look past the cost, there’s a lot to be excited about. Dembele is just 20 years old but had a breakout season last year at Dortmund, where he was one of the best players in the Bundesliga.
Possessing great speed, dribbling skills, and ability to create chances, Dembele has a lot of skills to make an immediate impact at the Camp Nou. However, he needs to improve a few things to really be a complete player. His defensive contribution is adequate but could be better, while he also doesn’t score much. He also has a tendency to lose the ball that he needs to correct. His game so far has been suited to a counter-attacking team, and it remains to be seen how he adapts to Ernesto Valverde’s style of play.
Still, at only 20 years old, Dembele represents both an improvement in the present and a promise for the future. There probably wasn’t a better player of his age, and he fits FC Barcelona’s need for a wide forward. For that reason, the Catalans accepted paying extra.
The Blaugrana still need one more signing at least, and they hope it’s Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool. As far as replacing Neymar in the lineup, however, they’ve got it covered. That’s not to say Demebele will immediately make up for his absence, but for the moment, he’s the best choice for Barcelona.