Ousmane Dembele officially begins life as a Barcelona player today as he undertakes his medical and is presented to the world and the club’s Twitter account has already gone into overdrive dubbing it #DembeleDay.
But they are right to get excited and so should we, as Barcelona fans can now look forward to the skills the tricky winger will add to the front line.
At the young age of just 20, Dembélé showcased exactly what he could do in the Bundesliga last year, scoring six goals and creating 63 chances for Borussia Dortmund.
Six goals may not sound a lot, but Opta neatly highlight below just how much potential this boy has.
18 - Since August 2015, Ousmane Dembele scored more goals as a teenager than any player in the top five European leagues (18). Prodigy. pic.twitter.com/Oa8S1lRamw— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 25, 2017
But it is not just goals that Dembélé will bring, it is assists too, and that is exactly what is needed, particularly following the departure of Neymar.
Replacing the Brazilian is all but impossible but one of the young French star’s main assets last season was his relationship with striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
In fact, Dembélé provided 10 assists for the Dortmund forward last season, as Squawka show, that’s more assists for any team-mate in Europe’s top five leagues. Now just imagine him assisting Lionel Messi and Lionel Suarez. Excited now?
Ousmane Dembélé assisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 10 times in the league last season.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 25, 2017
The most deadly duo in Europe has broken up. pic.twitter.com/eLyfAgm8Hr
Dembélé is versatile too, although he is right-footed, he is expected to take Neymar’s place on the left wing which will allow him to cut inside and go for goal.
The Frenchman can therefore play on the left of a 4-2-3-1 alongside Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi with Luis Suarez as the sole striker, or on the left on of a 4-3-3 with Suarez and Messi.
Of course being right-footed means he could also play on the opposite flank, with Messi moving to the middle, or Dembélé could even feature as a central striker if needed.
In short, he gives Ernesto Valverde great attacking options, which have seemed in short supply so far this season despite a winning start.
Dembélé’s arrival, also adds a fresh injection of youth and bring some much-needed young legs into the squad.
One of the biggest problems with the current squad has been the issue of age. Those issues have been addressed in defence with the signings of right-back Nelson Semedo this summer and Marlon Santos and Samuel Umtiti last year.
The midfield has also benefited from the return of Denis Suarez and Sergi Roberto’s role in the midfield.
Looking to the future, with Messi and Suarez now both 30 years old, Barcelona needed a foundational young player who they could plan the future around.
While still only 20 years old, Dembélé will surely only improve in the coming years and provide Barcelona with a new superstar who can dominate for the next decade.
Perhaps most crucially, particularly in light of this summer, Dembele has spoken openly about his love for Barcelona and, as the club have shown, the kid even has a Barcelona cover on his phone!
Ultimately, last season Dembélé proved that he had the ability to influence games with his speed, trickery, and unselfishness. But as we move forward, fans have to be careful with their evaluations of the young player.
While Dortmund is a giant European club, the expectations that come with being a Barcelona player are almost unmatched by any other club in the world.
In order for Dembélé to succeed this year, and in the future, confidence is needed and that must be something that fans help him find.
The process of learning the Barcelona style and fitting into a new league and a new country can be difficult, but with the right mentality and preparation, the young French international can prove that the loss of Neymar can be overcome.