With the focus on youth in the modern game, it’s understandable that teams will be on the hunt for the hottest talents on the continent in order to improve their squad. The current flavour of the month comes in the form of Ousmane Dembele, with the Frenchman attracting interest from the top teams in Europe’s top five leagues. A number of scouts were supposedly in attendance to witness the teenager bag a hat-trick against Nantes this past weekend, contributing to a WhoScored.com rating of 10.
A host of Premier League clubs are allegedly keeping tabs on Dembele, with Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham among those interested in the rising star. A total of nine goals and three assists in 17 league appearances this season has helped him gain a WhoScored.com rating of 7.69 in Ligue 1, the fourth highest in France’s top tier. Indeed, it’s been quite the stunning breakthrough campaign for the 18-year-old for Rennes and it’s little shock that a host of teams on the continent are vying for his signature.
His versatility on the frontline would be a huge asset to any team, with Dembele starting in no fewer than eight different positions in Ligue 1 this term. Despite being unable to start a run of games in any set spot, this hasn’t stopped the youngster from impressing wherever he has played. Only Neymar (4.5) is averaging more dribbles per game than Dembele (4.4) in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
With a statistically calculated WhoScored.com strength of ‘dribbling’, Dembele is indeed one of the most difficult players to stop when he gains a head of steam. To add further weight to his superb ability to run with the ball, the attacker is being dispossessed just 1.8 times per league match in France’s top tier this term. No matter how hard opponents attempt to limit his influence, he’s clearly one of the more difficult players to stop, with his unpredictability aiding his swift ascent.
Clearly boasting an end product to his game – Dembele is averaging 2.4 shots and 1.6 key passes per match this season – he’s not one who simply runs into blind alleys for the sake of it. Of course, given his age, there is ample room for improvement on the defensive side of his game, which will need refining if he is to realise his immense potential, but there is time for him to develop this aspect.
Nevertheless, Dembele’s displays suggest he can certainly improve with the right management. The ample game time received for the French side this season is clearly having a positive impact on the player. With this, he is able to express his superb offensive quality in the final third, with Dembele as lethal around the 18-yard box as he is in the penalty area.
The attacker’s approach is somewhat reminiscent of Neymar, with Dembele a keen admirer of the Barcelona star – “Neymar is my only role model” he said during his time in the youth team – highlighting exactly why there is such high interest in the teenage sensation. He is unlikely to partake in Euro 2016, but then Rennes are expected to be able to command top dollar for a player of his already evident quality. Given his potential and apparent ability, Dembele is set to be one of the most sought after talents this coming transfer window.