When Neymar Jr left Barcelona for PSG, it broke a million hearts and the club was left in a state of shame and humiliation from the footballing world.
They may have spent heavily on the acquisitions of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele but the two have taken their time integrating into the squad. Dembele, in particular, had plenty of problems in his first season due to injuries.
There is no question that he is one of the most talented youngsters in world football. Despite this, many were willing to sacrifice the incredibly productive youngster, due to a difficult beginning to his career in the Blaugrana.
His numbers, however, tell a completely different story and his recent form is proof of this.
In his first season in Europe, Neymar contributed to a goal every 94 minutes (41 Apps, 15G, 15A, 2838min).
In comparison, during his first season with Borussia Dortmund (because Ligue 1 isn’t very competitive), Dembele contributed a goal every 110 minutes (50 App, 10G, 22A, 3507min).
His time with Barcelona may have been blighted by injury but his production is still elite with him having contributed a goal every 95 minutes (29 App, 9G, 8A, 1619min).
To put things in perspective, Neymar came to Europe when he was a 21-year-old. Dembele was only 19 when he broke out in the Bundesliga with Dortmund and has only gotten better with time.
Past glory, however, is never a benchmark. If Dembele can match the Brazilian’s output from his first season, the fans will have some sort of security in the fact that the Frenchman is more than able to replace Neymar, if not out-do him in the role.