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Ousmane Dembele has been a cause for consternation at Barcelona this season, leading to speculation that the Spanish champions could be set to part with the World Cup winner in a bid to re-sign Neymar.
But Arsenal legend Robert Pires insists the Catalan giants would be wrong to part with his compatriot, stating he prefers the 21-year-old to the Brazil superstar.
Injuries plagued the ex-Rennes winger’s debut campaign in Spain, limiting him to just 24 appearances in all
Dembele has already scored nine times in 20 games this term, including a brilliant opener against Tottenham in the Champions League on Tuesday.
But his campaign has also been plagued by suggested misdemeanours, including poor timekeeping and questions over his attitude.
As such, he has been mooted as a potential makeweight if Barca attempt to bring Neymar back from Paris.
But Pires believes Ernesto Valverde’s men are better off working with Dembele.
“I love him [Dembele] very much,” he told Mundo Deportivo. “We always talk about [Lionel] Messi, but this guy is very good.
“He’s young but what he does we all did as kids. What you must do is self-impose discipline in your life, but he is young and with his quality and talent, he can help Barca to win the Champions League and also the league, as we have seen against Tottenham and Espanyol with great goals.
“If I had to choose, I would not change Dembele for Neymar.
“Ousmane is 21, plays with the left and the right [foot] with a lot of quality with the ball.
“He has a lot of potential, more than what we’ve seen so far.”