Many thought the departure of Neymar in the summer of 2017 would have left a massive hole in the Barcelona attack – one that could potentially prove difficult to fill.
The side’s devastating front three of Neymar, Suarez, and Messi laid waste to all that stood before them, proving Barcelona to be a truly unstoppable force.
When PSG submitted their ludicrous world-record bid for the Brazilian forward, Barcelona simply couldn’t turn it down.
The Catalan side pried French prospect Ousmane Dembele from the grasps of Borussia Dortmund that same summer as a long-term replacement for their former star.
The youngster most recently impressed spectators during the side’s Champions League fixture against Tottenham Hotspur, further proving Barcelona are more than capable of thriving in Neymar’s absence.
Dembele’s performance sparked the debate of whether Ernesto Valverde’s side are better with him in Neymar’s place.
Arsenal and France legend Robert Pires is the latest to chime in on the discussion.
“If I had to choose, I would not change Dembele for Neymar. Ousmane is 21, plays with the left and the right foot with a lot of quality with the ball.
“He has a lot of potential, more than what we’ve seen so far.”
Massive claims there from Pires.
Perhaps one of the major hindrances of Dembele’s progression at Barcelona is his off-field antics. The 21-year-old was recently fined £90,000 for turning up two hours late to training.
However, Pires has urged critics to be patient.
He said: “Dembele is young, but what he does we all did as kids. What you must do is self-impose discipline in your life.
“He is young, and with his quality and talent, he can help Barca to win the Champions League and also the league, as we have seen against Tottenham and Espanyol with great goals.”
Barcelona are next in action tomorrow with an away trip to Levante.
Have Dembele’s recent showings earned him a place in Barca’s starting XI? Will the fixture be another opportunity to get his career at the club back on track? Let us know in the comments.