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Ousmane Dembele opens up on Barcelona exit rumours

Ousmane Dembele picked up an injury just weeks after his big-money move to Barcelona

Bengaluru, April 17: Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele has insisted he would be at the La Liga giants for a long time to fight for his position despite a difficult first season.

Dembele impressed the football world last season when he joined Borussia Dortmund from French side Rennes and had a stellar season for Dortmund where he registered 10 goals and a staggering 21 assists on his debut campaign in Germany.

The player also earned national team call-up and his representation in both club and international fotball soon turned him into one of world football’s most coveted young stars.

After losing Neymar to Parsi Saint German over a cash-rich moved, Barcelona did not hesitate to splash the cash and bought the young French player in August last year for a reported €105 million.

However, sadly just after arriving at the Catalan side a left thigh injury sidelined him for three-and-a-half months of the campaign and later a problem with the same muscle saw him ruled out again during the turn of the year.

His injury problems saw him lose his first-team spot and has now been utilised as a backup player of the squad as manager Valverde prefers midfielder Paulinho and Sergi Roberto ahead of him in the pecking order.

Only seven of his 12 La Liga appearances this season have been starts, while the attacker has started on the bench for three of his team's last four competitive games.

This has speculated rumours that in order to get more playing time, the French forward could leave the La Liga leaders next season and the player has been linked with Arsenal over a potential move.

But now rejecting all such talks, the youngster has suggested he has no intention of leaving Barcelona after just one season at Camp Nou.

"I signed a five-year contract at Barcelona. I'm going to be in Barcelona a very long time. I'm not going to leave after a season," he explained.

"I'm not in my best form, but little by little, it's coming back. I still have to work on my cardio because I get tired very quickly. At Barcelona, I have a better lifestyle. At Dortmund, I didn't have a great lifestyle and I didn't get injured, so it's not that."

Also, there are speculations going around that Atletico star Griezmann could join Barca in the summer. This move could well make Dembele's chances in the playing XI even more bleaker but Dembele said he expects competition for places at a club like Barcelona and he will be happy to compete with the likes of Coutinho, Griezmann etc.

"It's Barca, it's just the way it is," Dembele said regarding competition for places. "I'm happy with Coutinho's arrival. As for Griezmann, I don't know if he's going to come. [The senior players] give me advice, they help me a lot on the pitch. It's difficult to adapt to Barcelona."

Dembele's last appearence for Barcelona was in their 2-1 win against Valencia last week where he came as a substitute to replace Coutinho. The player overall has made 18 appearances so far and has registered one goal and seven assists to his name.

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Story first published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 14:05 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 17, 2018
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