Since his arrival at Barcelona, it’s fair to say that Ousmane Dembele hasn’t exactly set the Camp Nou alight.
On a few occasions this season, he has got bums off seats through a mixture of his electric pace and decent finishing, but in truth, those moments have been few and far between.
A highlights reel from his time with the Blaugrana would probably last a couple of minutes at best and for a player who cost north of €100 million, that’s nowhere near good enough.
He is still young and the comparison to Neymar’s first season at Barça has already been made. The Brazilian took at least a year to get used to the rigours of La Liga, but the jump up from the Campeonato Brasileiro was much more significant than Dembele’s from the Bundesliga.
Rumours of a lack of focus behind the scenes can often be seen in his general play, and despite the Frenchman’s obvious talent, he often looks laboured in play and, dare we say it, bored at times.
His tardiness for training and team meetings will not be tolerated too much longer by a club that pride itself on the highest standards of professionalism.
Dembele appears to be a modern-day Nicolas Anelka who continues to allow his sulky attitude to detract from what he does best.
Though Ernesto Valverde has been a vocal exponent of the youngster, preferring to talk up his attributes rather than hammer him for his shortcomings, his patience appears to be wearing thin too.
Certainly, if Barcelona continue on their current path then success again beckons at the end of the season. In order for that to happen, however, Valverde needs all of his top players at it in each and every training session and game.
With Manchester United desperate for a lightning-quick wide man and Gareth Bale looking less and less likely to be their choice, what price is Dembele for a switch to England?
Countryman Anthony Martial is already in situ, and by bringing in his French international colleague, we might just start to see the best of the former again, who appears to be playing his way back into form in any event.
From Dembele’s perspective, a move offers a new and exciting challenge, but more significantly a starting spot every week.
At Barcelona he’s lost his place in the XI because of Arthur Melo’s emergence in midfield, forcing Valverde to drop someone else. To this point, that’s been Dembele.
Jurgen Klopp was allegedly interested in signing Dembele last summer when there was a lot of noise surrounding the player, but it’s hard to see how he dislodges any one of Mane, Firmino or Salah.
At United, their needs in attack are clear, and though much has been made of Jose Mourinho’s attitude towards young players, he will give them their chance if they’re good enough.
Physically, Dembele is lithe and athletic and the demands of the Premier League will take some getting used to, however, we’ve seen just how well pace from wide men works in the division.
Even now, one can count on the fingers of one hand the number of wing-backs with genuine pace to nullify the attacking threat. Most rely on positional excellence and muscle.
If there’s one thing that United have lacked up front for a while now, it is the ability for their front players to beat defenders at will, take the ball into the danger areas at pace and deliver.
Dembele ticks all of those boxes and just needs a fresh perspective on the game to push him to the next level.
A fringe player for France in the World Cup, he has to be looking to force his way into Les Bleus’ starting XI by the next European Championship.
He’ll only do that by getting minutes under his belt, something that Barcelona seem unwilling to offer him at the moment.