Dembele is like a little boy, says Boateng

By Sports Desk September 11, 2019

Ousmane Dembele is "still like a child" and needs guidance in order to fulfil his potential, according to former Barcelona team-mate Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Boateng spent the latter part of the 2018-19 season playing alongside Dembele at Camp Nou while on loan from Sassuolo and he opened up about the France international's temperament in an interview with Bild.

Dembele has earned a reputation for his poor timekeeping having been suspended for Barcelona's defeat to Real Betis last season after missing a training session and France coach Didier Deschamps publicly lambasted him, saying: "I know about his excuses when he turns up late."

Barcelona stuck by the 22-year-old in the face of speculation that he might leave the club, for whom he scored eight goals in 29 LaLiga appearances last season, but Boateng urged the Blaugrana to nurture his talent.

"He is very calm, and does not talk much," Boateng told Bild.

"He is still like a child to me. You have to take him as he is and it may be that he arrives late.

"There are players who do that in defiance, but that's different with him. He's just like a little boy – one who earns a lot of money, one who is extremely public."

Boateng's stay with the LaLiga champions was short-lived and he made just three league appearances during a five-month spell at the club.

In contrast, Dembele is someone Barca coach Ernesto Valverde and president Josep Maria Bartomeu seem keen to keep hold of as he embarks upon his third season in Catalonia.

Boateng warned Barcelona: "You have to point him in the right direction. If he does not learn then it is his fault.

"For me, he's still a little boy who was thrown into this huge pool, suddenly costing 150 million euros overnight and somehow does not even know how everything works – because he just wants to play football."

Related items

  • Solskjaer hints at two January signings for Man United Solskjaer hints at two January signings for Man United

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted the club could make a couple of signings in January as they look to recover from a difficult start to the season.

    United have endured their worst start to a league campaign for 30 years, winning two of eight games to leave themselves languishing in 12th with nine points.

    That means they go into Sunday's Premier League clash with bitter rivals Liverpool 15 points adrift of Jurgen Klopp's pacesetters, suggesting United might even struggle to finish in the top four.

    United spent approximately £140million on the pre-season signings of Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, though many have argued they are still well short of having a squad deep enough to achieve their goals.

    Those suggestions have been exacerbated by United's numerous injury problems this term and, although Solskjaer does not regret letting Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leave, he did confirm the club are looking at potential January reinforcements.

    "In one-off games, you think we could've had a number of extra players with experience. Alexis and Rom [Lukaku] are goalscorers and good players but, at the moment, we made those decisions and they were the right decisions," Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

    "That's the only way you've got to look at it. All the players here want to give everything for the club and for the shirt – that's a big thing.

    "Every day that they come in training, and every day that they put the shirt on, they're going to give everything that they have. So, you can't really say, 'oh I wish I didn't do that'.

    "We know we haven't had the results that we wanted, but I wouldn't have kept the players we sold. It was the right decision.

    "We're looking at one or two new signings. We're one or two players light, and we've said that, but if the right ones are available in January then we might do something. If not, these players will give everything.

    "January is a difficult window, anyway, but if there are players available and at the right price, I'm sure we will spend. There might be some experienced players who can come in and help the younger players – that might be worth the money.

    "So, it depends on who is available. I'm not going to go down the route of bringing players in on big contracts and big fees if they're not the right ones for the whole group and for the future.

    "The money is there. We've been looking at players and we were close to a couple, but it's not right if you don't get the right players. The money is there to strengthen in January and in the summer [in 2020].

    "We're planning and we're looking. We're refining our targets, but just before the summer transfer window ended, the ready-made players weren't there. But the resources are there if the right players are available."

  • Rumour Has It: Allegri 'very close' to Man United, but Spurs remain interested Rumour Has It: Allegri 'very close' to Man United, but Spurs remain interested

    Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

    United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

    While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

     

    TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

    Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

    Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

    They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

    However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

    Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

    - Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

    - Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

    - Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

    - Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

    - Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

  • Wellington Phoenix sign former Premier League striker Gary Hooper Wellington Phoenix sign former Premier League striker Gary Hooper

    Wellington Phoenix have completed the signing of former Premier League striker Gary Hooper.

    The 31-year-old joins on a one-year deal after being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 2018-19 season.

    Phoenix will be hoping Hooper can fill the void left by last term's Golden Boot-winner Roy Krishna, who departed at the end of last season to join Indian Super League club ATK.

    Hooper brings a wealth of experience from English football and the Scottish Premiership, where he arguably enjoyed his most impressive spell, scoring 82 goals over three seasons with Celtic.

    "His CV on paper is arguably the most impressive of any Wellington Phoenix player to date and I have no doubt he will contribute," Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome told the club's website.

    "I'm sure that football fans across Australia and New Zealand will be thrilled to see a player like Gary in action for Wellington.

    "It's been no secret that we've been searching incredibly hard for a striker this season and we're extremely pleased to sign someone of the highest calibre."

    Hooper will not be ready to make his debut in time for the weekend's clash at Sydney FC but will be available for the Phoenix's home match against Perth Glory in round three.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.