France winger Ousmane Dembele has withdrawn from Didier Deschamps’ squad with an injury that will keep him sidelined for the rest of Euro 2020.
The Barcelona man was a second-half substitute in France’s recent 1-1 draw with Hungary but managed just 30 minutes before being forced back off with what appeared to be an injury to his right knee.
Dembele was ruled out for France’s final group game against Portugal, but there had been some hope that he would make it back in time for the knockout stages.
Unfortunately, RMC Sport state that further checks on Dembele have revealed that he has suffered damage to a tendon in his knee and will not be fit in time to return this summer.
The latest issue comes as a huge blow to Dembele, who looked to have finally shaken off his fitness issues last season with Barcelona.
The 24-year-old managed 44 appearances in all competitions last year, notching 11 goals and five assists. But he played far better than those numbers would suggest, and his form earned him a recall to the France setup for the first time since November 2018.
For France, losing Dembele isn’t the biggest problem. Deschamps does not play with wingers and has only used the Barcelona man off the bench, so his absence will only open the door to the likes of Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman or Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram – should a Plan B be required.
However, for Dembele himself, this new injury could hardly have come at a worse time. The winger finds himself at somewhat of a crossroads this summer, with his contract at Camp Nou about to roll into its final year.
Barcelona are keen to keep Dembele around but he is understood to be keeping his options open, with Manchester City among the sides tracking him.
City boss Pep Guardiola is reported to be eyeing a swap deal which could bring both Dembele and Sergi Roberto to the Etihad, with seven players from City’s squad up for grabs in exchange.