Rennes midfielder Ousmane Dembele is quickly making a name for himself in the French top division. Despite having just made his season debut back in November, the 18-year-old has already racked up 10 Ligue 1 goals, as well as five assists. The impressive goal tally in the short amount of time (just 19 league matches) has made the big boys perk up a bit. In fact, France Football reported last week that Barcelona had a €35 million bid for Dembele rejected by Rennes.
Following the breaking news, Badou Sambague, the player’s agent, denied a bid taking place, but fueled the fire by refusing to rule out a possible transfer to the Nou Camp. ”There is absolutely nothing, but I also confess that if Barcelona call you, you cannot say no,” Sambague told Mundo Deportivo. “We know there were scouts not only from Barcelona, but also some from several English clubs, as [Rennes] explained to me.”
Two of the aforementioned English clubs are apparently Arsenal and Manchester City. The Gunners have been so impressed by Dembele that they are reportedly sending chief scout Steve Rowley to watch the 18-year-old forward/attacking midfielder play in person. Also perhaps working in the north London club’s favor is the fact that former Gunner, Mikael Silvestre, is working as an executive for Rennes.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are thought to be extremely interested in Dembele as well. Incoming manager Pep Guardiola is looking to make the youngster one of his first signings with the Citizens when he makes the switch from Bayern this summer, according to ESPN FC. The website also claims, however, that Guardiola’s current club are the actual frontrunners to complete the signing of Dembele come June.
As one of the most sought after teenage prospects in Europe, Dembele possesses blazing pace, quick feet, and quality finishing. Because of his speed and ambidexterity, he is mostly deployed out on either flank. However, the tricky youngster has also made a few appearances in a more central role just behind the central striker with Rennes as well. According to whoscored.com, Dembele has actually scored the same amount of goals out wide as he has in the number 10 role.
With 10 goals and five assists in just 1,542 total minutes during the current campaign, Dembele’s minutes per goal/assist beats many superstars around Europe.
|Minutes per goal/assist|
Wherever Dembele ends up plying his trade next season, he will have to continue to progress as a player. The speedster is still a bit raw and his decision making will have to improve if he were to make it with a big club. Nevertheless, Dembele certainly appears to worthy of the recent interest from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Manchester City. It will be interesting to see what teams are willing to enter a biding war for the 18-year-old.
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