Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho both have cost Barcelona altogether €250 million. If Demble arrived in summer of 2017 with €110 million spending, Coutinho goes on to cost Barcelona €130 million. And, both of the players have been seen more on bench rather than on pitch since their arrival in Barcelona. It forces us to ask, is Barcelona really needed to make those signings?
Dembele was a desperate buy in failed summer pursuit of Coutinho. The 20-year-old Frenchman cost Barcelona €110 million on 25th August 2017, and since then he has been featured in only 5 La Liga, 2 Copa del Rey, and 1 Champions League match. The total time former Borussia Dortmund player has spent on the pitch is only 290 minutes.
He has missed 20 matches (13 Laliga, 5 Champions League, and 2 Copa del Rey) due to thigh muscle rupture injury, and you can add seven more absence with another muscle injury. He hasn’t played a single match for full 90 minutes. Either he has find himself on the substitution bench in rest of the Barcelona matches or substituted during the game. It’s not a healthy sign for a €110 million signing. If you make an expensive signing, you are supposed to give him a place in starting lineup, but it seems hard to come for Dembele in Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona playing XI.
It goes same with January signing Philippe Coutinho. Former Liverpool man insistence to join Catalan giants and Barcelona’s management team aggressive bidding for the Brazilian finally paid them a transfer window later, but it costs them €130 million. The Brazilian attacking midfielder is finding difficult to find a place in domestic matches starting XI, whereas he is not eligible to play in Uefa Champions League because of his previous participation as Liverpool player.
Coutinho’s hamstring injury also takes the game time away from him. He wasn’t in squad for five matches due to injuries, and after coming back from injury he has only played for full 90 minutes in one match against Espanyol. Otherwise, he has been given modest start by manager Ernesto Valverde.
Dembele and Coutinho – both were playing regular football for their respective previous teams. They came to Camp Nou with lot of potential and with the price paid, it was expected that they’ll find place in Barcelona starting lineup. But, it looks Barcelona playing XI doesn’t have room for both of the stars.
Midfield section is already full. Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho and Sergio Basquets don’t leave enough room for others to fill in, and right-wing is occupied by Lionel Messi. It left both of these €100 million signings to fight for the left-wing place, which only one can occupy. Bench seems to be the only place for either one at a time, and we hope they’d have no complains about it.