There is truth behind 'Dembele-gate'. All the focus is on the FC Barcelona player today because he's been showing clear signs of being unable to adapt. Before we begin, let's talk about the positives: the Frenchman has started this season in good form, scoring 6 goals and providing 2 assists, and some of his performances have proven key in earning his side the victory. Even when he isn't starting, he's been the first man to come off the bench. Now that might not be the role Dembele expected when he signed for Barça but it's still a role which adds a major 'plus' to the team when the opposition is difficult to break down.
Now the bad. It's away from the pitch where the problems are mounting up. He's had some issues when it comes to his diet as well as poor timekeeping. Ernesto Valverde has got angry at him on more than a few occasions for his lapses in concentration and with each passing day he appears more isolated from the main group. RAC1 revealed yesterday that the club spent over an hour and a half trying to locate Dembele because he didn't turn up to training. And today our newspaper reveals that the squad is beginning to tire of his attitude.
No one doubts that Dembele is a very good player with huge potential and physical stats very few possess, but there's also the belief that he's a diamond which still needs a lot of polishing. This is his second season at Barcelona and time has run out: straighten things out or the club will be forced to sell you - and as such lose a lot of money on their original investment. That is how things are at Barça and, whether you like it or not, time passes quickly and judgements and reputations can stick.
With Dembele the outrageous price tag has played against him, couple that with trying to offset the loss of Neymar, it's a lot for any person to take. It isn't the same to come in for €35m than it is €120m. It's difficult to try and be that 'star' who can replace someone as important as the Brazilian was for Barça. The next few weeks will be decisive in Dembele's future and what's clear to everyone is that he can't afford any more slip ups.