Dembele looks like a valid bet for Chelsea but it would be a costly declaration of faith in Tuchel – The Athletic

Thomas Tuchel has generally avoided talking about contracted players at other clubs, but last month he made a rare exception.

“He’s a very good player, and I’m very lucky to have coached him during my time at Borussia Dortmund,” the Chelsea head coach said of disgruntled winger Ousmane Dembele. Barcelona and imminent free agent. “It was only a year, it should have been longer, but I needed to leave and he decided to leave.”

Tuchel hasn’t confirmed Chelsea’s interest in signing Dembele but what he said made it clear he would appreciate the chance to work with the Frenchman again.

It is easy to understand why. The 19-year-old version of Dembele that Tuchel coached at Dortmund in the 2016-17 season was a real phenomenon, terrifying opposition defenses with blinding speed and skill, registering 10 goals and 20 assists in 49 appearances in all appearances. competitions.

His youth and talent have arguably marked him out as Europe’s most worthy candidate to be considered as Neymar’s long-term replacement at Barcelona in the summer of 2017, even if the €135m price tag that the Spanish giants finally paid – following an infamous and comical failure to negotiate with Dortmund by then-chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board – was ridiculous.

The current version of Dembele is a rather different and much riskier proposition. His four-and-a-half seasons at Barcelona have been marred by 12 different injuries, and he has played just 32.9 per cent of the 15,570 minutes of La Liga football his club have played since his arrival.

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