Ousmane Dembélé hasn't really got going and many are beginning to question whether he ever will in a Barcelona shirt. After a first season of adaptation, he was asked to take a step forward if he wanted to justify the €100m it cost to bring him to the Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund. After a bright start where he displayed his goalscoring ability, Dembele has returned to his old ways and rubbed some of the squad up the wrong way. The latest test was against Inter and the Frenchman didn't even play a single minute. He didn't even get told to warm up. But this has been coming.
As mentioned earlier, the season couldn't have started any better for Dembele. He was one of the last to rejoin preseason training after winning the World Cup in Russia but that didn't stop him from starting in the Spanish Super Cup. He scored the crucial goal to earn Barça their first trophy of the season. This could've set the tone for the campaign to come, a season where he would take centre stage. He didn't score in his league debut but did so against Valladolid, Huesca and Real Sociedad.
the debacle begins
Dembele's goal against Real Sociedad made him feel like he'd already made the place in the team his own. But it wasn't to be the case and he soon realised this. In the next match against Girona at the Camp Nou, Barça ended up drawing and Dembele showed the negative side of his game. He wasn't alert, he lost possession on countless occasions and went on runs with no end product. Valverde gave him another chance against Leganes but he produced an even worse performance.
made an example of at Wembley
The greatest stadium for a footballer to play in, against Tottenham Hotspur, in the Champions League and Valverde left Dembele on the bench. Instead Arthur was brought into the side. After a poor run of form, the Brazilian's performance won over the supporters. It wasn't a mere coincidence this came without Dembele on the pitch. That was a sign from Valverde.
whistled at in the Sevilla game and criticised in the dressing room
The match against Sevilla could mark a before and after moment for the winger. He started on the bench but Messi getting injured presented him with an opportunity. Although he did something which upset his teammates. Dembele was too slow to get ready and replace the Argentine. The team was forced to play with 10 men for 10 minutes because of this. When he came on, his performance was awful and he was accused of lacking the right attitude in the second half. His poor display didn't go unnoticed at the Camp Nou and when he lost the ball again, the supporters whistled at him. According to 'L'Equipe' the squad are upset at Dembele consistently arriving late to training. He's known for his party lifestyle and love of food.
punished against Tottenham
Valverde has a clear idea in his mind: he wants the best players out on the pitch. Right now, Dembele isn't one of them. After his poor match against Sevilla he was a substitute against Inter. This despite Messi being injured and the attack being weakened. Rafinha was chosen ahead of him. After that, Munir was the first attacking change. Dembele didn't even warm up and Valverde has shown that if Dembele doesn't change his attitude, this is the role he can expect until the end of the season.