Barcelona defender Nelson Semedo has insisted that France forward Ousmane Dembele is ‘totally committed’ to Barcelona amid links of a move away from the Camp Nou – with Arsenal reportedly interested.
Dembele has endured a mixed start to life in Catalonia since completing a blockbuster move to the Spanish champions from Borussia Dortmund in summer 2017, effectively signed to replace Brazil superstar Neymar at the club.
However, despite featuring in France’s World Cup winning squad ahead of this season, Dembele has struggled to find his best form in a Barcelona shirt. Arsenal are said to be among the clubs interested in the winger, but Semedo told ESPN, via Mundo Deportivo: “He is an excellent player with a lot of potential and will help us a lot.
“He is totally committed to the team. Now he is more responsible and is showing it in the field. It must continue like this, and I am convinced that it will.”
Dembele’s career at the Camp Nou appears to be on a gradual upward curve. The Frenchman suffered extensive injury troubles during his debut campaign with the Catalan giants last season, and managed just four goals during his first season for Barcelona.
However, the 21-year-old has already gone beyond that tally this season, with seven goals already to his name. However, disciplinary issues this term have once again seen Dembele’s Barcelona future called into question.
The former Dortmund star has been consistently linked with a big money move to the Emirates in recent times. Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat was widely credited as the man responsible for bringing Dembele to the Bundesliga from Ligue 1 side Rennes in 2016.
The winger went on to star for the current German league leaders, before moving on to Barcelona just one year later, thereby vindicating Mislintat’s choice during his time in Dortmund.
The German talent spotter has talked up Dembele once more, now as Arsenal’s recruitment chief, though concerns over the Frenchman’s likely price tag could prove decisive in any deal.
“When I saw Ousmane Dembele in an Under-18s game he hadn’t played for Stade Rennes’ first team,” Mislintat told German outlet Zeit. “My feeling told me, he’s a special player.
“Ousmane decided games with his actions. His ability to devise strategies on the pitch and use every inch of space was pure gold for us [at Dortmund].”
Aside from the Mislintat connection, Dembele also played alongside Arsenal stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos during their time with Dortmund.