Things just aren’t working out for Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona.
Signed for an initial £96.8 million from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, the 21-year-old winger is yet to reach the heights expected of him.
A hamstring injury derailed his debut season but even while healthy, he’s nailed to cement a spot in the starting line-up at the Camp Nou.
Several issues that Dembele has faced aren’t necessarily to do with his form, but his attitude and overall professionalism.
It was reported that the Frenchman arrived 25 minutes late to Barcelona’s Champions League match against Inter Milan last week.
And Dembele took an age to get ready to come on in place of Lionel Messi after the Argentinian broke his arm against Sevilla.
His manager, Ernesto Valverde, also hinted that he’s concerned about Dembele’s effort when he loses the ball.
Concerns about Dembele's diet
“Everyone loses the ball, the question is what you do after you lose it,” Valverde said following Dembele's individualistic showing against Sevilla.
Barcelona have tried to help Dembele reach his potential, supporting him when he suffered a hamstring injury in September 2017.
The France international was sidelined for nearly four months, and the Blaugrana realised what could go wrong during such a lengthy lay-off.
Concerned about his diet, Barcelona designated Dembele a private chef to ensure he was eating just as well as he would have been at the Joan Gamper training ground.
However, according to the Daily Mail, the plan didn’t last long. Dembele didn’t cooperate fully and the plan was scrapped.
While the report, from the Mail’s Pete Jenson, may suggest Dembele isn’t fully committed to becoming the best player he can be, there are apparently signs that the former Rennes player is growing up.
His off-field habits are improving, according to Jenson, and there is a hope that the winger’s injury problems are behind him.
At the age of 21, there’s still plenty of time for Dembele to develop into the player Barcelona want and expect him to be.