Ousmane Dembele sidelined for a month with fresh injury

Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele has suffered a fresh injury blow during Sunday’s 4-2 comeback win over Real Sociedad in the Spanish La Liga. The France international sustained a ‘fibrillar rupture to his left thigh’ during the dying stages of the encounter, and this is likely to sideline him for the best part of a month, Marca claims.

Dembele was recruited by Barcelona in the summer as a potential successor to Neymar, but he has since struggled to make an impression with just four appearances across all competitions. A hamstring injury restricted his participation between the months of September to December, and he is now expected to miss further first-team action, potentially damaging his chances of starting regularly for the club.

The Catalan giants surpassed their record-breaking fee for Dembele after they pursued Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool earlier this month, though the ex-Reds midfielders is similarly out for a few weeks with a thigh problem. On paper, Coutinho is likely to cement his position on the left side of the Catalan attack, and Dembele’s recent injury woes could keep him restricted to the bench, unless Ernesto Valverde thinks otherwise.

Coutinho had shone in a central midfield role with Liverpool, where Jurgen Klopp played the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah in a front three, and a similar ploy could be deployed at the Camp Nou, though Paulinho could be hard done by the decision, given his impressive showing in the right-midfield position in a 4-4-2 setup.

Dembele’s absence, has however, had no impact on Barcelona’s title charge, and they are presently 19 points ahead of holders Real Madrid, who are enduring one of their most-difficult spells in recent times. Los Blancos do have an extra game in hand, but their prospects of retaining their title look pretty much over with Barca looking unbeaten at present.

Sociedad appeared on course to end Blaugrana’s unbeaten run with a 2-0 lead early in the first-half, but goals from Paulinho, Luis Suarez(2), and a brilliant Lionel Messi free-kick wrapped up a comfortable win in the end at the Anoeta Stadium.

Image – Getty