Xavi’s decision to back Ousmane Dembele continues to pay off after the Frenchman’s impressive match against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday.
Many at Barcelona wanted the Frenchman to leave the club, but Xavi was adamant about keeping him and getting paid.
“He’s happy and enjoying himself,” Xavi said after the 5-1 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League.
“He makes the difference. He provides assists and is in good form. His one-on-one ability is at the level of the best Neymar. He just has to push for more shots and score.”
The numbers show that Dembele still requires some time to be able to catch up to Neymar in terms of scoring chances, but is very close to the current PSG player in terms of influence.
This is especially clear when it comes to one-on-one games. The Frenchman excels on the wing and his ability to disrupt opponents’ defenses will help develop Barcelona’s attacking game.
The Frenchman joined Blaugrana in 2017 after the Brazilian left, but it looks like he finally took the baton from him.
Compared Statistics Between Neymar and Dembele
There is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to goals. Neymar’s best-scoring season was in 2014/15 when he scored 39 goals, and since then he has always scored at least 15 goals, with the exception of last season when he only scored 13 goals. He has already scored seven goals this season.
As for Dembele, his best year was 2018/19, where he scored 14 goals. His next best is his 11th in 2020/21.
In addition to scoring goals, Dembele will have to keep up with Neymar’s minutes. Leaving this season aside, the Frenchman averaged 1,756 minutes per season with Barcelona, compared to Neymar’s 2,703 minutes.
Dembele Had a Change of Mind
As a Catalan who never stopped believing in the winger, the Frenchman has found the ideal coach in Xavi. In fact, the former midfielder is a key reason Dembele signed a new contract and returned to Blaugrana.
After some satisfying performances at the end of last season, Dembele has set off this season even better. During his league season in Santander and in the Champions League, he has recorded his 4 assists, 1 goal and 31 dribbles.
This could be the season the Frenchman announces himself to the Blaugrana fans for the first time in five years and finally reaches the bar set by Neymar.