Why Barcelona's Ousmane Dembélé has been declared not for sale
Josep Maria Bartomeu said Barça want to keep the French forward earlier this week
Earlier this week Josep Maria Bartomeu announced big changes at Barcelona after the Bayern Munich defeat. However, the Barca president also said somethings would stay the same, naming the players that are not for sale.
Lenglet, De Jong, Ter Stegen and Messi were expected. The first two are young and still have room to grow at Barça. Ter Stegen is one the best goalkeepers in the world and Messi is Messi (beyond his own doubts).
FAITH IN ANTOINE
Bartomeu also named Griezmann, who has had a discrete debut season at the club but still maintains the club's confidence. The name of Semedo also seemed strange. The right-back has had some good performances this season but has also had some setbacks, like against Bayern.
But perhaps the most surprising name mentioned was Ousmane Dembele. Since he joined the club he has been plagued by injuries and problems off the pitch. There have been glimpses of his talent: a quick, skillful player with the ability to change a game that perhaps only Neymar also has in the modern game.
But he's been stopped in his tracks time and again. It's been three years since he joined now in that painful summer when Neymar left for France. The pressure on the 20-year-old at the time was brutal. And he suffered his first injury a month after signing, ruling him out for months.
WHY NOT SELL?
So why he's not for sale? Among other reasons because in the current climate Barça would only be able to recover around 50 percent of their investment. How much would a club pay for a player that's been injured more than on the pitch in the last three years? Then there is the eternal hope.
The coaching staff still see a diamond in Ousmane and they don't want to give up on him. They believe he just needs regular football and to remain focused. At 23, after three years at the club, the most important thing is to find that consistency and maturity that would allow him to reach the top level. There's still faith.