Ousmane Dembele is set to be an essential player for Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona. The coach was waiting all summer for the signing which gave him width, which had been lost when Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain. Dembele was the only star the club managed to sign and Valverde has not got to work trying to integrate him into his system.
Valverde is aware he can't overload him with demands. He has opted to start with four basic requests in an attempt to begin to get the best out of the French international. Dembele began to apply them against Juventus and from a tactical point of view he did his job. Now he needs to add a little spontaneity.
One of Valverde's ideas, which he has transmitted to all the wide players, not just Dembele, is to look to link up with the central players. The wingers must combine with players through the middle so that the team is more together. Obviously, if it's on, they have the freedom to go at their man from a wide position, although they don't have to force it.
The combination through the middle allows Dembele to link with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. This new plan also makes Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic more comfortable and Barça much more reliable.
The Barça boss wants his team together, but he also wants Dembele to add a surprise factor. The French player's pace can serve to unsettle opposition and create a lot of danger. Through diagonal runs, he will open up space behind him for the full-backs. In this sense, Nelson Semedo can be daring and get forward.
MIX WITH Messi
Among all the factors, the key for Dembele to suceed is to click into gear with Messi. The Barça coach has suggested he learn how to read the Argentine's movements. That's so that, if Messi comes to the right, Dembele knows to take up a central position. And when Messi's in a more No.10 like role, Dembele knows to stay wide.
These movements could be seen against Juventus. Messi himself guided his new team-mate on the pitch. He gave a lot of instructions to ease Dembele's adaption to his new surroundings.
As well as attacking, Dembele's defending was interesting. The player had to abandon the line at times to take up a 4-4-2 shape -- with Dembélé, Rakitic, Busquets and Iniesta forming the midfield.
The former Borussia Dortmund man also helped Semedo when he was left one on one. Dembele even tracked Alex Sandro to the byline on occasions. Barça have done well to find a player who is willing to contribute in so many ways.