France international Ousmane Dembélé will become a major part of Barcelona’s first team next season after the club’s failed attempts to sign Antoine Griezmann shifted their priorities ahead of the new campaign, according to reports.
The former Borussia Dortmund and Stade Rennais wonderkid forced through a move to Catalonia last year for a reported £103m.
But Dembélé faced an uphill battle to adapt to life at the Camp Nou. The 21-year-old struggled with injuries throughout the campaign, but arguably his biggest challenge was adapting to Barcelona’s unique style of play.
The youngster has even been linked with a temporary move away from the club after registering just 23 appearances across all competitions last season, where Dembélé scored four goals and claimed eight assists.
It is claimed that Barcelona’s recently appointed sporting director Éric Abidal will also play a big part in Dembélé’s continued development in Catalonia, acting as somewhat of a mentor for the exciting winger.
Assistant manager Jon Azpiazu spoke last season about how the club were working to bring Dembélé up to scratch with the ‘Barça way’, but he conceded the Frenchman was still a novice when it came to discussing tactics.
“Dembélé is a player that isn’t used to working on tactics and we’re working on that aspect of his game. We want him to get used to our game,” Azpiazu said back in February.
Although Dembélé largely struggled in his maiden year at Barcelona, the France international did play a vital part of their Champions League journey.
Following a fortunate 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, the 21-year-old scored the second of Barça’s three goals in the return leg against Chelsea to book their place in the semi-finals of the competition.