Barca have a new attacking trident as Dembele proves to be 'better than Neymar'
Diario Sport writer Ivan San Antonio heaps praise on the 'unpredictable, quick winger, who cost an initial 105 million euros'. The Frenchman has already scored five goals so far this season, surpassing his last season's tally.
Difficult debut season
'Because of his pricetag, a magnifying glass has followed Dembele sing he arrived. Injuries led to a disappointing first season and he was unable to shine. When he was fit, coach Ernesto Valverde didn't feel he was mature enough to maintain the 4-3-3 which had been formed with an attacking trio of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Valverde opted to play a more conservative side in his first year in charge.'
Talks, talks, talks...
'A lot, in the meantime, was said about Dembele: that he didn't eat well, that he had bad company, that he was immature... It was even said that Malcom's signing could see him leave. That's not been the case. Valverde, who has more information than anyone to take decisions, waited for the right moment to bring back the trident.'
Dembele finally matures
'Dembele's partnered Suarez and Messi in six official games this season. Every game so far. He's not missed a single match. Valverde has seen him respond, not just scoring goals, but growing as a player, linking better all the time. Dembele, like Neymar did, unbalances defences, sets up goals, scores, frees Messi and Suarez and forced defences to be on their toes.'
Stats don't lie: a new Trident is born
'The goals are a consequence of all of that. And the numbers show the MSN has become the MSD. After six games of previous seasons, Barça's trident had scored: 10 goals (14-15), nine (15-16), 16 (16-17). Dembele (5), Messi (7) and Suarez (3) have 15 this season.'