clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dembele’s early start to pre-season will give Valverde some food for thought

New, comments

Back a week before everyone else

RC Celta de Vigo v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Though he still has his detractors, Ousmane Dembele has proved beyond doubt that he has what it takes to be a superstar at FC Barcelona.

The one issue that is being held against him is the regularity with which he decides to turn it on.

We saw more than ‘flashes’ of brilliance during 2018/19, however, and it’s just a shame that injuries again played a part in curtailing his excellence.

Had he not succumbed to a late season injury at Celta Vigo, who knows how different things may have ended up.

In any event, a player that some still believe is ‘lazy’ for want of a better term, has set about not only getting back to full fitness quickly but is also putting a marker down to Ernesto Valverde and the board.

Rumours of the imminent hires of Antoine Griezmann and Neymar continue to do the rounds, and some outlets have suggested that the young Frenchman could be a makeweight as Barca seek to recoup some funds.

Kicker in Germany are even reporting that Bayern Munich will shortly launch a bid for Dembele’s services, though it’s understood that the player doesn’t want to leave.

Not only that but he has begun pre-season training a week earlier than his team-mates and with only countryman Jean-Clair Todibo for company.

Furthermore, and perhaps in a sign of a more professional outlook, Dembele has reportedly requested the services of a personal trainer.

Whether that’s to give him specific exercise routines designed to minimise injuries, or just to keep him more focused going forward isn’t known at this stage.

Assuming Dembele is fighting fit again before the start of another La Liga campaign, Valverde really does have his work cut out if Griezmann and Neymar arrive.

Most clubs would be more than happy with such an embarrassment of riches, but having Coutinho, Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Griezmann and Dembele all vying for three starting spots will undoubtedly bring its fair share of problems.

For now, all Dembele can do is get his head down and work as hard, if not harder, than any of his colleagues.

He’ll already be a week ahead of those players not in the Copa America in fitness terms, and it’s important that he works at the same intensity throughout the next few weeks.

If he does that and his fitness issues don’t reoccur, Valverde and his team might just be willing to reward him with a starting spot.