Report: Barcelona already tracking Rennes wonderkid Ousmane Dembele – but who is he?
Barcelona are reportedly considering Rennes wonderkid Ousmane Dembele after he scored a hat-trick in front of technical secretary Robert Fernandez on Sunday - but who exactly is he?
According to RAC1, Fernandez and his assistant Urbano Ortega were among the spectators at Roazhon Park as Dembele fired Rennes to a 4-1 victory over Breton rivals Nantes in Ligue 1.
The treble moved the 18-year-old on to nine goals for the season, and La Blaugrana are believed to have added him to their list of transfer targets as a result.
Mundo Deportivo describes the French star as “a skilful player with great acceleration and a lot of speed” and, for that reason, has attracted interest from “other big European sides”.
It appears Barcelona are not alone in monitoring Dembele, with German newspaper Kicker reporting that Leverkusen scouts were also on hand to watch his hat-trick display.
So, who is he?
Dembele is an 18-year-old forward who has scored nine goals in 13 league starts for Rennes and has represented France at Under 19 level. He has been described as the next prodigy of French football.
Why has he emerged so suddenly?
As Julien Laurens of BT Sport reveals in the above video – which dates back to late February and includes some seriously impressive skills – Dembele has been on the radar of Europe's elite for quite some time now. However, he only made his Ligue 1 debut in November due to complications relating to his first professional contract – basically, he turned down an offer from the club in August but finally penned his deal in October and made his debut the following month.
What is his style of play and best position?
Current Rennes sporting director and former Manchester United player Mikael Silvestre has compared him with Cristiano Ronaldo. Quite the endorsement. Dembele is an archetypal modern day forward capable of playing anywhere across the front positions. As shown by the above video, Dembele is very skilful but also has composure beyond his years.
What next for Dembele?
Spanish newspapers Sport and Mundo Deportivo claim – as reported in our Euro Papers video – that Barcelona will snap up the France prodigy for €7 million.