“You can’t have too many cooks in the kitchen,” is a phrase FC Barcelona did not take into mind when analyzing the right wing. With over 250 million euros invested in the position, right-wing has become a strength for Barcelona. However, this came at the cost of having three players battling it out for one starting spot. The trio of Ousmane Dembele, Raphinha and Ferran Torres all have skill but find themselves in an overcrowded position trying to share game time.
While this competition is healthy, it does not help Barcelona given that the club’s financial situation is still difficult. So, out of the three players on the right wing, what are their strengths and who should stay at Barcelona?
Dembele under Xavi has finally begun to reach the potential Barcelona saw in him at Borussia Dortmund. To be frank, it has been a refreshing breath of fresh air to see Dembele gliding down the right wing with his dribbling and pace being used to full effect.
However, he is a much different style of right winger than Raphinha and Torres.
The former is a winger who hugs the right-sided touchline to provide width for the team. Unlike the other two wingers, he holds the width and doesn’t need someone else to. In addition, out of the three, he is the best dribbler and the fastest player. There are two traits Dembele bases his game on, being a freak-level athlete while having insane foot coordination. A 1v1 duel against Dembele normally ends in Dembele gliding past his opponent.
While he is an incredible isolation threat, there are more than a few flaws in Dembele’s game. First, is his reliability to stay on the field. Dembele is a rather injury-prone player, often missing a lot of games. It is almost unavoidable during the season, more of a matter of when and not if. The other issue is his current profile.
As previously mentioned, Dembele is currently a winger, yet, if he is to surpass his current level he needs to be more than an individual threat.
The best wingers are 1v1 threats while also being creative enough passers to set up chances for their teammates. Dembele excels at the former but struggles at the latter with his football mind not being fully tuned to create for others. He must continue to try and develop the attributes of a wide playmaker alongside his current skill set as a winger to become the best player he can be.
Despite the injury worries and the concern about his creativity, Dembele is the best out of all three wingers while also having the most potential. For a club going through so much instability on the economic side, it is critical to keep our best players at the club and keeping Dembele will do exactly that.