Barcelona have an array of talented, and in many cases expensive forwards, but two of them have stood out head and shoulders above the rest. One was always meant to do so, Robert Lewandowski, but the other is the controversial character of Ousmane Dembele.
This time last year, Camp Nou was loudly whistling Dembele for his refusal to sign a new contract with the club. However by March, Dembele had won the fans round again with strong performances.
This season he has beaten out competition from Raphinha and Ferran Torres to make the right side of attack his own. So far this season he has 8 goals and 7 assists in 27 matches.
Dembele’s renewal in the summer was for just two seasons though, and already the pieces are being put in place to start negotiations again. According to Sport, the club will sit down with Dembele towards the end of February.
The club are desperate to avoid a similar situation to last year, and so will aim to get all terms agreed before the start of next season. Relations have improved with his agent and Dembele is keen to remain at the club for the foreseeable future, something Xavi Hernandez has been pushing hard for.
All of this paints a positive picture, but it may be a different matter when it comes time to sit at the negotiating table. Last season, Dembele’s agent was said to be demanding a much higher salary than Barcelona were willing to offer – a large part of his renewal was due to a lack of concrete offers from elsewhere. Given the consistency he has shown so far, that will not be the case this time round.
Image via AP Photo/Joan Monfort