It did not take lengthy for Barcelona’s supporters to give you a chant for Ousmane Dembele; each time the France worldwide steps on the pitch, his title echoes round Camp Nou to the tune of La Marseillaise, the French nationwide anthem.
It is one of many extra catchy tracks that followers have give you in current seasons and a refreshing hear when contrasted with the monotonous repetition of most gamers’ names. The issue? It is not been sung practically as usually as may need been imagined.
Barca signed Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for an preliminary €105 million in August however he is performed simply 291 minutes this season. On Sunday, he got here off the bench for 27 minutes within the stalemate with Getafe, making simply his eighth look of the season.
It was the primary time he’d performed in a month, following a hamstring damage sustained towards Actual Sociedad on Jan. 14. That sport at Anoeta was simply his fourth following 4 months on the sideline with a ruptured tendon.
On Monday, he missed coaching; Barca mentioned he had a abdomen downside. In brief, Dembele’s Barcelona profession has but to get going.
Ernesto Valverde admitted after the Getafe sport that the ahead’s lack of minutes was obvious and that issues hadn’t fairly come off for him. However an important factor between now and the tip of the season is not only that Dembele stays match — that is a given — however that he is given time to settle.
Not solely was he thrown into one of the vital demanding golf equipment in Europe at a younger age, however he arrived with the added expectation of being Barca’s most costly signing. That tag has since been taken by Philippe Coutinho however the strain stays and lots of imagine that scrutiny may have performed an element in his damage issues.
“Maybe he would not have the expertise to recognise issues which may develop into worse,” Valverde mentioned after Dembele was injured in September. “As a result of he is a quick participant, it is the motion he made which was the worst factor for the muscle. Perhaps a extra skilled participant would have identified to not make that motion.”
Alternatively, maybe Dembele did not need to recognise the issue due to the expectation on him to carry out, to justify his price ticket and to successfully substitute Neymar.
“Perhaps it was a sin of youth to not say, ‘I felt discomfort in that space earlier than,'” mentioned Sakari Orava, the surgeon who operated on Dembele 5 months in the past. “The strain to which he was uncovered after his signing for the membership may even have affected him.”
The concept of the strain and of stress having such an impact that it makes a participant extra liable to damage is one which is held by many. When Coutinho was pushing for a Barcelona transfer final summer season, for instance, the Brazilian nationwide group physician had a principle concerning his again damage.
“Coutinho’s again downside was a matter of stress, it was one thing emotional,” Michael Simoni mentioned on the time. “The uncertainty about his future led him to feeling burdened.”
It is a principle that Liverpool supervisor Jurgen Klopp agrees with.
“I noticed it when Mario Gotze joined Bayern Munich,” the former Dortmund coach instructed DAZN final month. “The deal is introduced after which, one week later, he tears a muscle. I by no means believed that was a coincidence. There was plenty of strain, the lad’s beneath unimaginable strain and growth his muscle goes. These are issues which occur in these moments. And that was comparable with Phil [Coutinho].”
Given he had no historical past with accidents earlier than shifting to Barca, Dembele could be filed on this class. After placing to drive by way of his transfer and subsequently lacking weeks of coaching he was, to make use of Klopp’s phrases, beneath “unimaginable strain” when he arrived in Catalonia.
Again at sq. one once more, Dembele wants endurance and, fortunately, Valverde is kind of good in that regard. Issues have modified barely within the time he is been out injured: Barca’s type has lessened the strain, as has the arrival of Coutinho to interchange him because the membership’s document signing.
Now Dembele must be given time to slowly really feel his manner into the group. And he wants the supporters to maintain on singing La Marseillaise.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Comply with him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.