Arsenal Eye Ousmane Dembele Swoop as Barcelona Urge €145m Winger to Improve His Attitude

?Arsenal are reportedly keeping an eye on Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele ahead of a potential swoop for the World Cup winner. It comes as the player is linked with an exit from Camp Nou over concerns about his attitude.

Dembele joined Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in a deal potentially rising to €145m, making him one of the most expensive players in history. But he has struggled to justify the price and has been in and out of the team this season after an injury plagued debut year.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla - La Liga Santander

Gossip originating from Mundo Deportivo, via Sport Witness, has it that Arsenal are not ‘losing sight’ of the 21-year-old, pointing to the fact that Gunners head of recruitment Sven Mislintat oversaw the French international’s transfer to Dortmund in 2016.

Liverpool, on the other hand, apparently have lost sight. The Reds had also been linked with a move for Dembele, but a report from the Daily Mirror now claims that the Anfield club has ‘no interest’ in pursuing the player when the transfer window opens in January.

Dembele’s recent behaviour at Barcelona is said to have been cause for concern for the club, with separate stories from both Marca and Mundo Deportivo sharing details of a meeting between Camp Nou president Josep Maria Bartemou and Dembele’s agent, Moussa Sissoko.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga

Bartomeu is said to have been accompanied by vice president Jordi Mestre, general manager Pep Segura and technical secretary Eric Abidal.

It is said that the Barcelona officials shared their concerns with Sissoko during the hour-long meeting. It is suggested that while those at Camp Nou recognised Dembele’s immense talent, he is seen as ‘not very focused’. The club wants him to adopt a more professional attitude, which reportedly includes turning up to training on time.

It is also suggested Dembele has struggled to integrate because he speaks little Spanish.

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One apparent suggestion from the club is that it might benefit Dembele to have someone close to him based in Barcelona. His agent, for example, is based in London, while his mother is also not in Catalonia and he appears to lack the structure and support network vital for any footballer.

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Barcelona Winger Malcom Loving Playing Alongside ‘Football Alien’ Lionel Messi

?Barcelona midfielder Malcom has admitted that he is learning so much from playing alongside Lionel Messi, who he described as the best in the world.

The Brazilian winger has endured a tough start to life in Spain, making just five appearances since joining Barcelona this summer. He has been training alongside Messi, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time and has won a total of five Ballon d’Or awards.

FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga

In an interview with ?ESPN, Malcom revealed that he believes he is improving simply by training alongside ?Messi. He said: “A few minutes before starting the match, in the tunnel, he told me that when he gets the ball he will find me.

“And he does because he’s a football alien.

“He’s someone who always wants the best for the group. This is why he’s the captain and someone who can inspire players to give their best because, coming from someone has five Ballon d’Or awards, you end up doing well and you’re motivated to do it.”

FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga

“For me, he’s the best in the world. 

“It’s difficult to talk about. You never know what he’s going to do because he never gives anything away so it’s difficult to know which direction he’s going to go in. 

“Simply by exchanging passes with him, I am learning so much. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to the maximum.”

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He ended by admitting that despite his challenging start to life at the Camp Nou, he has no regrets about choosing ?Barcelona over Roma last summer. He said: “I was going to Roma and I was very happy. 

“Then the opportunity to sign for Barcelona arrived and I did not think twice because it had been my dream since I was a kid. Being here is a dream come true.”

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Clement Lenglet Insists There Is No Problem With Barça Teammate Despite Rumours of Liverpool Move

?Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet has come to the defence of his countryman Ousmane Dembele amid reports that the attacker could be on his way out of the Catalan club.

Dembele joined the Spanish giants in the summer of 2017 after a sparkling season with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. However, despite the hefty price tag of €105m and considerable talent that the Frenchman possesses, he’s yet to hold down a place in the Barcelona starting lineup. 

?There have also been reports of disciplinary issues at Camp Nou, which has reinvoked speculation that Dembele could be on his way out of the club in the near future, with ?Liverpool among the clubs linked.

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Lenglet – a summer signing from Sevilla – has weighed into the debate surrounding Dembele’s future at Barcelona and defended the young forward. 

Speaking to Goal, the Frenchman explained Dembele’s absence from Barcelona’s most recent squad to face Betis.

Lenglet said: “I don’t think there is any problem with him, he was ill, he couldn’t make training and the coach chose another player. If Dembele looked serious in the stands I think that is understandable, we were losing and if he started to laugh people would not understand that either.

“These are things that happen at every club and we all have to pull in the same direction to reach our goals.”

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It was previously reported that Demebele, who has scored five goals this season in all competitions, had been omitted from recent match-day squads due to disciplinary issues, with ?Barcelona coaching staff growing tired of the youngster’s occasional lateness or absence from training. 

?Liverpool have been linked with ?a club-record £85m move for Dembele in January should he become available.

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15 European Clubs With the Highest Wages in Football

Barcelona have been revealed as the club with the highest wage bill in all of Europe, far ahead of La Liga rivals Real Madrid, as well as big spending Premier League duo Manchester United and Manchester City.

Barcelona’s annual wage bill, revealed by the club’s published 2017/18 accounts, is so big it is nearly €100m more than Real Madrid’s and close to half a billion Euros in total.

FC Barcelona v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga

Swiss Ramble has conducted significant research into the Catalan club’s finances this week, finding that while Barça’s annual revenue is rising. But last season’s total revenue of €914m was propped up by a €209m gain in player sales, the proportion of turnover (commercial, matchday, broadcasting etc) spent on wages at Camp Nou was among the highest in La Liga at 70%.

That figure was previously a very frugal 43% for the 2012/13,which right now would be one of the lowest in La Liga, while only 53% of Real Madrid’s turnover last season went on wages.

Barça’s enormous wage bill in 2017/18 was €487m. No other elite European club even exceeded €400m, with Real second on the list on €395m. Manchester United’s wage bill for last season came to €337m and Manchester City’s hit €296m.

Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League

Only 2016/17 figures were available for several other top sides, but it still gives a good indication of how much each is spending on salaries.

Paris Saint-Germain’s bill hit €272m the season before last, while Bayern Munich spent €265m on wages. The figure for Juventus last season was €259m, while Premier League trio Chelsea (€256m), Liverpool (€241m) and Arsenal (€232m) complete the top 10 big wage spenders.

Tottenham Hotspur have been relatively frugal compared to their domestic rivals, spending €149m on wages in 2016/17. Perhaps surprisingly, Leicester sneak into the top 15 after their spend on wages for the 2016/17 campaign hit €131m – likely the result of a number of big contracts handed out by the Foxes after their Premier League title win the season before.

?Club League? Wage Bill?
?Barcelona ?La Liga €487m
Real Madrid? La Liga? €395m?
Manchester United? ?Premier League ?€337m
?Manchester City ?Premier League ?€296m
?Paris Saint-Germain ?Ligue 1 €272m?*
Bayern Munich Bundesliga? €265m*?
Juventus? Serie A? €259m?
Chelsea? Premier League? €256m*?
Liverpool? Premier League? ?€241m*
?Arsenal ?Premier League ?€232m*
?Borussia Dortmund ?Bundesliga €187m?
Atletico Madrid? La Liga? €178m*?
Inter? Serie A? €156m?
Tottenham Hotspur? Premier League? €148m*?
Leicester City? Premier League? €131m*?

*2016/17 figures

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Ousmane Dembélé’s Agent Reveals How French Star Has Reacted to Criticism Amid Barcelona Troubles

?Ousmane Dembélé’s agent has leapt to the defence of his young client after a recent barrage of criticism, and insists that Barcelona are delighted with their record signing. 

The French international started the season in good form but his performances seem to have regressed and Dembélé was hauled off in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Inter in the Champions League after a shambolic performance. 

The likes of Liverpool and Arsenal have been credited with interest in the player in the last few months, and Dembele’s situation at Barcelona does suggest that speculation will ramp up in the coming weeks – as the January transfer window approaches.

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However, the Frenchman’s agent, Moussa Sissoko, told RMC Sport, as reported by the Daily Mail, that he has had direct contact with the club and insisted that the Barcelona hierarchy are pleased with Dembélé – despite the speculation.

He explained: “I had Eric Abidal (Barcelona director) on the phone, he’s very happy with Ousmane, he told me he’s training well. There are really no question to ask ourselves right now.”

Sissoko went on to say that his client is reacting well to criticism he’s been receiving“Ousmane’s not reacting too badly. He knows how to shut out that criticism, especially when it’s unfounded. Having said that, he knows how to use it when it’s not, to react in the best way possible on and off the pitch.”

However, Sissoko doesn’t understand why his client is receiving such harsh criticism. He added: “Ousmane is 21, plays for Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He’s had a super start to the season scoring six goals and two assists.

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

“I don’t understand all the criticism right now. We’re aware there are things to improve, that’s for sure. He’s 21, it’s normal. But Ousmane is very calm, he keeps working.”

Dembélé’s mixed performances for the Catalonian club have led people to question whether his career has somewhat stagnated since his big-money move from Borussia Dortmund, but his agent was quick to use Dembélé’s recent call-up to the French national team to refute these claims.

He said: “Not at all. Ousmane keeps working, he’s at a big club, he’s in the national team, and Didier Deschamps keeps calling him up. The national team coach reacts to everything that is said, but I’m certain he likes Ousmane a lot, otherwise he wouldn’t pick him.

“He’s right on regarding the player’s behaviour and their performances, so if Ousmane is with the France team now, it’s that he deserves it.”

It is clear that Dembélé has bags of potential, but he has so far failed to live up to the hype that his €105m fee demands. With all of Barcelona’s players fit, the Frenchman struggles to get regular first team football as Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi both outperform Dembélé regularly.

However, the French winger is still young and there should certainly be an element of patience when dealing with his progress as a player. 

Barcelona next face a mouth-watering fixture away to Atlético Madrid after the international break. Ernesto Valverde’s side are currently just one point above their opponents and Atlético could go top of the table with a win. 

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