Friday, 25 August 2017

Ousmane Dembele 'ready' to meet expectations at Barcelona - Valverde

Ernesto Valverde says Ousmane Dembele is ready to deal with the pressure of becoming Barcelona's record signing and also suggested the club are still working on other deals, with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho still a target.
Ousmane Dembele has been the key to Dortmund's incredible attack so far in 2017.
Ousmane Dembele is set to sign his Barcelona contract on Monday.
Barca confirmed the arrival of Dembele from Borussia Dortmund on Friday in a transfer which could rise to €147 million, almost doubling the €80m they paid Liverpool for Luis Suarez in 2014, the club's previous record purchase.

Dembele, 20, will arrive in Barcelona over the weekend and will sign a five-year deal at Camp Nou on Monday.

"Dembele gives us width, something we lost and we needed," Valverde said in a news conference, referring to the affect Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain has had on his options.

"He can play on the left or the right, or even through the middle, he is quick and he is technically good. We hope he's going to add a lot to the team. We're really excited to have him.

"[His rise] has been impressive. A couple of years ago he was hardly known by anyone, but he's a player with a lot of quality. Barca have been following him for a while, like other teams, and last year [with Dortmund] he proved he's a top-level player. We have a lot of hope deposited in him."

Asked if the price tag could affect Dembele, Valverde added: "We know how things are going in the transfer market, everything's shot up. All clubs from now on are going to be paying the biggest transfer fees in their history.

"These type of signings generate a lot of expectation, but we think Dembele is ready for that and we expect the best from him. I don't think, when he's on the pitch, he will be thinking about how much he cost."

As well as Dembele, Barca have also been chasing Coutinho since Neymar left and they have seen three bids turned down by Liverpool so far.

However, they're expected to return with a fourth bid, despite Dembele's arrival, and Valverde confirmed the club are still working on ins and outs.

"Until Aug. 31, there's still time to sign players and for others to leave," the coach said. "There's not room for everyone [in the squad]. All clubs are pending on incomings and outgoings."

Marlon Santos is one of the players who could leave, albeit on loan, while Douglas is also expected to move on before the end of the transfer window.

Dembele will not be able to make his debut against Alaves in La Liga on Saturday, but Valverde could hand a first start to Paulinho.

Andres Iniesta is also available again after recovering from a thigh problem but Luis Suarez is missing, although Valverde said he's recovering quicker than expected from a knee problem and could be ready to return after the international break.

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