Arsenal targeting Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele - The Verdict

Ousmane Dembele

According to reports from Sport, Arsenal are interested in signing Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele.

The winger’s performances for Borussia Dortmund were so impressive that the La Liga giants willingly parted with over €100m to acquire his services.

But for a variety of reasons it just hasn’t worked out for Dembele at the Nou Camp. He’s never made more than 22 starts in a single La Liga season and has breached the ten goal involvements mark just once as well. 

Dembele’s current contract is about to enter its final 18 months and having shown an unwillingness to sign a new deal, Barcelona are open to selling despite the Frenchman playing a role in the early stages of the new season – picking up starts in both La Liga and the Champions League.

Arsenal – along with Manchester United – have been mooted as potential suitors, but would the 23-year-old be a good signing for the Gunners?

GIVEMESPORT writers Christy Malyan, Jack Saville and Matt Dawson answer a simple question below: should Arsenal swoop for the France international?

Jack Saville

“A potential Arsenal move for Dembele has all the makings of Nicolas Pepe 2.0, but with a twist. The Barcelona prodigy is undoubtedly a raw talent with just about everything in his locker: electric speed, unpredictable dribbling, versatility in the attacking positions and an eye for goal.

“But the lingering doubts over his attitude combined with the Gunners’ depth of options in forward positions suggests the club should turn their interest elsewhere. According to a report published by Goal in 2018, Dembele struggled to adapt to life at the Nou Camp for a variety of reasons, including his obsession with playing video games – often at “inopportune” hours – and poor diet.

“More recently, meanwhile, the 23-year-old has reportedly lacked interest in training and shown little regard for tactical work. That simply won’t fly under Mikel Arteta. Pepe has stagnated during his time at the Emirates Stadium and drifted onto the periphery of Arteta’s plans, and Dembele would merely prove to be another expensive waste of attacking talent.”

Ousmane Dembele and Leonardo Bonucci

Matt Dawson

“Of course, Dembele is a potent threat in the final third with either foot but he has shown his glistening quality on very few occasions for Barcelona.

“The main reason? Injuries. That word and Arsenal go together like a match made in heaven and the Gunners really cannot afford to bring another player of that nature to the Emirates. Dembele has had nine separate fitness issues at the Nou Camp and missed 191 days of action last season alone.

“Think of Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere and in more recent times, Hector Bellerin – the Gunners have had more injury issues than a human has fingers and toes. With such talented young wingers in Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson at Mikel Arteta’s disposal, Dembele is the last thing they need.”

Christy Malyan

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being utilised out wide instead of centrally has been one of the biggest criticisms thrown at Arteta this season. But really, what alternative options does he have? Pepe has been a complete flop since joining for a record fee, new signing Willian really isn’t up to much and after that you’re looking at youngsters like Bakayo Saka, Nelson and Eddie Nketiah.

“And when you look back through Arsenal’s recent history, they haven’t had a truly top-class wide player since Alexis Sanchez, who left nearly three years ago. The Gunners are crying out for an elite winger to bring the arduous Lacazette/Aubameyang saga to a close by giving genuine balance to their attack and while Dembele may have his problems, Arsenal would have to unearth a real gem to find an alternative who’s just as young, just as talented and just as cheap.

“If the north Londoners can keep him fit and focused, he could be Arteta’s missing piece of the jigsaw. Let’s not forget back in his Dortmund days, one season alone saw Dembele grab eight goals and 18 assists in the Champions League and Bundesliga.” 

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