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Is Rafinha putting the nails in Ousmane Dembele’s Barcelona career?

That was £100m well spent then

July 2018: Win the World Cup.

October 2018: Dropped to the bench despite Lionel Messi getting injured.

Let’s just say the past few months have been full of ups and downs for Barcelona’s £100m signing Ousmane Dembele.


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We have never seen the double Sturridge attempted before

Getty - Contributor
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We have never seen the double Sturridge attempted before

The Catalans splashed out on the Frenchman to replace Neymar after he moved to Paris for purely football reasons.

After his blistering performances for Borussia Dortmund, Dembele arrived as an electric talent with outrageous dribbling skills and nearly perfect ambidexterity.

Just one game into last season Dembele suffered a heavy-duty hamstring injury putting him out for four months.

Everything was rosy on his return, he was consistently scoring and come the summer he became a world champion with France.

Scary

EPA
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Scary

However, since returning to Spain for this season everything is falling apart.

Despite featuring in all of Barcelona’s league games and scoring three goals, as well as hitting his first Champions League strike for the club against PSV, his future at the Camp Nou looks bleak.

Lionel Messi was sidelined for a three weeks with a broken arm suffered against Sevilla which was supposed to be the perfect opportunity for Dembele to step out of his shadow.

But instead of coming to the fore Dembele was last spotted watching Barcelona’s Champions League clash against Inter from the bench.

Ernesto Valverde decided to hand 25-year-old Brazilian Rafinha, who has been sent out on loan for the last two seasons, the start ahead of Dembele.

As Dembele watched on Rafinha scored Barca’s first goal and had generally impressive numbers in the win over Inter.

His performance reportedly shored up the Brazilian’s place in the team for Sunday’s El Clasico leaving Dembele to wonder where it all went wrong.

Valverde is likely to opt for Rafinha’s work ethic to cover Sergi Roberto when Marcelo decides to marauder down the wing.

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The problem lies with Dembele’s slack attitude and inability to arrive to pretty much anything on time.

Reports broke on Thursday that the players were supposed to arrive at the Nou Camp two hours before the game, but Dembele rocked up nearly half an hour late.

And this wasn’t the first time his tardiness had infuriated everyone at the club.

Dembele has been turning up late to training all season and even Gerard Pique has outed him for it.

Does the £100m signing think he doesn’t need the same punctuality as the rest of the squad?

“What do you mean soy sauce is just Japanese gravy?”

Reuters
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“What do you mean soy sauce is just Japanese gravy?”

For a young player with such incredible talent Dembele should be shining in Lionel Messi’s absence.

Instead he is messing the club around much to the ire of Valverde.

Rafinha, who scored two goals in 17 league matches for Inter last season, is ahead of him in the pecking order and if he’s not careful Dembele will join the long list of players who somehow butcher their great potential.

He wouldn’t have anyone to blame but himself.


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