Yes, you read that correctly. In a dramatic turn of events, it is breaking today on 90mins that Arsenal are leading the chase for Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
Incredibly, the deal hinges on Arsenal being willing to include Aaron Ramsey in the agreement.
Barcelona recently signed Malcom from Bordeaux and it is thought that World Cup winner Dembele will be on the fringe of the side this coming season.
Would he be a good signing for Unai Emery‘s Arsenal team?
Dembele is still only 21-years-old and moved to Barcelona for €105m in the summer window of 2017. He is, predominantly, a right-sided attacker but is capable of playing through the middle or from the left. A potential transfer fee has not been reported but Barcelona could well accept a cut-price deal plus Aaron Ramsey.
Dembele in La Liga
As you can see here, Dembele did not figure in the Squawka top ten for La Liga attackers last season. In his debut season in Spain, he contributed three goals and seven assists in his 17 games.
We should take a look at Ousmane Dembele in comparison to the player who has replaced him at Barcelona, Malcom, a former Arsenal wide player, Alexis Sanchez, and a player who played a fair bit of football on the right for Arsenal last season, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
As you can see, Malcom is the outlier due to the larger amount of games he played – but we can still compare the % successes.
Dembele finishes 4th when it comes to successful take ons, with 55.81%. Anyone who has watched the French international will know that he likes to dribble so it could be said he needs to be more effective in this area.
Dembele created more chances than all the others on average. Looking at this from a per 90 perspective, Dembele created 2.74 chances per 90 – more than Malcom (2.70), Mkhitaryan (1.70) and Sanchez (2.34).
He also had the 2nd best shot accuracy in the group, with 64% of his shots hitting the target.
Dembele has the 3rd best-attacking score – beating Mkhitaryan once again.
However, as you can see, it is the total score where Dembele fades away. Taking into account his defensive contribution and his ability in possession is what hits Ousmane Dembele hard. His total score drops below 100, even less than Mkhitaryan. Malcom came in at over 1000 due to the games played – again, to give this a per 90 context, Malcom averaged 36.19 per 90 and Dembele 11.63.
So, in conclusion: if there is a deal on the table for Arsenal where they can get Ousmane Dembele in return for money plus Aaron Ramsey – should they take it?
Despite the statistics suggesting not, I would this time go away from this and say yes.
Remember, Dembele was at Barcelona where the play goes through Messi. And if not through Messi they get it to Luis Suarez. And then Philippe Coutinho. Etc. This could easily affect the stats and confidence of a young player.
Is he the best young European talent out there? No, he isn’t. But if you look at where Arsenal are at right now and you look at Dembele’s undoubted potential, I feel at the right price you’d get this deal done.