Valverde addresses Dembele future at Barcelona

The Blaugrana boss has praised the Frenchman’s ability and hopes he will continue to develop with the club

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has appeared to rule out the possibility of Ousmane Dembele leaving on loan.

Dembele is yet to justify the reported €105 million fee paid to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund, managing just eight La Liga starts since returning from a hamstring injury in January.

The 20-year-old’s stuttering start to life in Spain has fuelled speculation linking him with a switch to Champions League finalists Liverpool.

Asked whether Barca would consider loaning him out, Valverde insisted continuity was key to unlocking the France international’s potential.

“We have to realise he just got here. He’s had some injuries and getting playing time in our team is not easy,” he said.

“He’s an incredible talent, technically outstanding, he’s quick, a difference-maker.

“Maybe he needs to work on defence a little bit and some other areas. Maybe putting on pressure after we lose the ball.

“But we know he’s young, he’s had a tough season and we hope he will continue to develop next year.”

NAIJAXTREME, MD, USA

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