Ousmane Dembele

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Vidal tells Dembele he must ‘mature’ to reach Barcelona potential

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32-year-old Arturo Vidal has been playing for Champions League contenders nearly his entire career, and with 501 first-team professional appearances plus another 113 international caps, younger talent would be wise to listen to his advice.

Even the advice that might be hard to hear.

Vidal came down hard on his 22-year-old Barcelona teammate, saying the French international “has to mature” and “become aware of what he really wants in life.”

Dembele arrived at Barcelona as a highly-touted young Borussia Dortmund talent in the summer of 2017 for a hefty $140 million fee. In his two years at Barcelona thus far, Dembele has yet to truly grasp a first-team place thanks to injuries and inconsistent form. Vidal believes an improved attitude could help Dembele become a true contributor.

“Ousmane is a football player who has a crazy talent,” Vidal told French publication L’Equipe. “When he reaches maturity, he will be an important player for Barça and for France. But, clearly, he has to mature. Listen to his body, be better prepared to avoid injuries. If you want to be the best, you should get up, eat and go to bed thinking about football. I think Ousmane will realize at some point that he has to do more.”

Those are harsh words from a teammate, but Vidal may be onto something. Dembele has been the subject of many stories regarding his personality, from the distancing of his mother to a possible video game addiction. Former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel called him “a little crazy.” He is reportedly late to everything which has cost him a significant amount of money.

“I talk to him a lot. He is a good boy and he is the first to want to be the best. He arrived at Barça at age 20, without much experience. Ousmane must become aware of what he really wants in life, know where he plays and who he plays with. But I think I see an evolution. It must continue like this.”

Dembele has just three league appearances this season thanks to a hamstring problem, and was sent off in his last appearance against Sevilla before the international break. He remains one of the brightest young talents in the European game, but is slowly creeping towards consideration as a bust if he can’t put together a good run in the Barcelona first team and help the club kick into a new gear.

Neymar set to stay with PSG, leaving mess at 2 big clubs

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Neymar will not be leaving Paris Saint-Germain, with L’Equipe reporting that the Brazilian star has told family that he’ll stay in Paris this season after a summer of transfer tumult nearly stretched into September.

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In a sign of the times, AS reports that PSG has taken the extraordinary step of meeting with its ultras to ask patience and perhaps a measure of forgiveness on behalf of the player.

It’s going to be a long road back for Neymar, but he certainly has the quality to quickly find redemption amongst even the most bitter of supporters. And with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani injured, as strong return to the field is necessary.

A second report crediting (or blaming) a young Barcelona star for the lack of movement.

Ousmane Dembele refused a move in the opposition direction, according to Goal.com, preferring to stay and fight for his stardom at Barca. From Goal.com:

And while a fresh start in his native France might have seemed a good idea from the outside, the 22-year-old has flat-out refused to move, with money seemingly not a factor as Dembele plots a long career with the Liga champions.

Barcelona has started the season with two draws and a win — guess which match the injured Lionel Messi started — and tension is high at the Camp Nou.

It’s not the right call to vilify Dembele here. Barcelona needs to take a long hard look at itself having loaned Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich in order to clear the wages for Neymar. If Dembele was never going to leave Barca, then Barca shouldn’t have cleared Coutinho’s plate from the table.

Now Dembele — not to mention Ivan Rakitic and others — stays and probably feels a bit aggrieved. That may not hurt Barca this season as Dembele fights to assert his quality, but may sting down the road.

Messi to miss Barcelona’s next game; Suarez, Dembele also out

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona’s squad to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

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Messi returned to training this week after recovering from a right calf injury picked up in preseason, but the Argentina star was not included in the list of players available for the team’s home opener at Camp Nou Stadium.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener last weekend.

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also without forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele because of injuries.

Transfer rumor roundup: Bayern Munich chasing Sane, Dembele

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A brief roundup of all the major transfer rumors sweeping their way across Europe and around the world, including the Premier League…

[ MORE: Friday’s transfer rumor rumor | Thursday | Wednesday ]

Bayern Munich appear hellbent on signing a young superstar this summer, and they might just have the opening they need to do so in the wake of Antoine Griezmann’s $135-million move to Barcelona. Just when Ousmane Dembele appeared headed for a regular starting spot alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, the 22-year-old Frenchman now figures to be the odd man out for a full-time starting spot.

There has been no indication that Dembele is looking to leave the Camp Nou in search of regular starting time, but just in case he is, Bayern are reportedly ready to offer him a landing spot. A bid of nearly $80 million was reportedly rejected last week, prior to Griezmann’s arrival. Dembele moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2017 for over $150 million.

If Dembele proves unattainable, Bayern have reportedly had their hearts on set on Manchester City’s Leroy Sane since the summer began. According to reports, Man City value Sane at more than $110 million.


Arsenal will demand a fee of $11 million from any club that wants to sign defender and captain Laurent Koscielny, according to the Standard. With one year remaining on his current contract, the 33-year-old refused to join his teammates on the club’s preseason tour of the United States as he attempts to force through a move back to France where he would like to see out his playing career.

Bordeaux, Rennes and Lyon are all reportedly interested in signing Koscielny, but none of the above have yet made a bid to Arsenal. Koscielny could also buy out his own contract, making him a free agent, and recoup that money over the life of a long-term contract featuring higher wages with the club saving millions of dollars on the front end.


Manchester United are still pursuing Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, but the Red Devils have a backup plan this year, according to French newspaper L’Equipe. While Maguire, who Man United pursued to no avail last summer, would reportedly cost $100 million, Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile is thought to be the fall-back option, for roughly $38 million.

The 18-year-old, who would be much more of a long-term investment than the 26-year-old England international, is also reportedly on the short list of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Transfer rumor roundup: Neymar for Coutinho plus cash? Dembele to Liverpool?

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The rumors are plenty to finish the work week, so let’s dive right into the buzz around the Premier League summer.

The Rodri-to-City reports have been long-running, but that didn’t stop another team from trying a 23rd hour move for the Atletico Madrid midfielder.

Kicker in Germany reports that Bayern Munich tried to swoop into the picture and snatch the player away from Man City, but that Rodri remains sold on working with Pep Guardiola and the Premier League champions.

Barcelona’s hopes of acquiring Neymar for far less than what some say could be a $300 million transfer fee involves a part-swap deal.

AS says that Barca would offer Paris Saint-Germain $100 million plus Philippe Coutinho in exchange for Neymar’s services.

Given Neymar’s injury history and off-field issues, maybe PSG will jump at that and use the $100 million on one of the many players linked with the club this offseason. From Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi to Real’s James Rodriguez, that money would be useful.

And Barca is going to be selling any number of players this offseason, but would you believe they’d admit failure in the case of Ousmane Dembele?

Don Balon reports that Liverpool of all teams is ready to spend nearly $170 million on Dembele, giving them at-worst insurance and at-best a replacement for any moves made by Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah (who are widely reported as happy at Anfield).

Finally, Sky Sports says Inter Milan’s action on Romelu Lukaku could not happen until June 30 when Financial Fair Play sanctions relax on the Serie A unit.

United apparently wants around $90 million for the Belgian striker, while Inter is hoping to spend a little more than half of that figure.

Inter would also, Sky says, have to sell Mauro Icardi and there’s been little interest in the prolific but controversial striker. Not a huge surprise.