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'Dembele is a bandit!' - Ex-Dortmund scout Mislintat defends Barcelona winger's 'successful' transfer

Former Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal scout Sven Mislintat has backed Barcelona’s out-of-sorts winger Ousmane Dembele, as the Frenchman struggles to make an impression at Camp Nou.

Dembele, now 22, spent one season in the Bundesliga in 2016-17, and scored in the final that year as Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal.

Signed from Rennes before being sold onto Barcelona in a move the player helped to force through after going on strike, Dembele netted Dortmund a profit of over €100 million (£88m/$112m) – but question marks over his character have followed him ever since.

“Ousmane, like I have said many times before, is in a sense, a bandit,” Mislintat told Die Welt.

“If you understand him and support him, he can help you win games on his own. That helped Dortmund to be successful, but it also means that if he wants to go to Barca, he will do everything to make it happen.

“And talented players who may have a slightly tricky character barely have a chance to make it to the top, but often these players are real winners.”

Mislintat is now sporting director at Stuttgart, after his much-vaunted arrival as head of recruitment at Arsenal saw him last just 15 months in the post.

An experienced operator in the transfer market, he believes the way clubs present themselves in negotiations is skewed, and leads to inaccurate views of players.

“I find it very unfair that this transfer, which brought sporting success with Ousmane’s big contributions to the cup victory and financial success with a three-digit million profit for the club, is discussed only negatively,” he added.

Sven Mislintat 2019/20

“Clubs need to stop talking about the bad player and the good club. We as clubs are fighting hard with each other and with players.

“It’s about winning: the negotiation, the money, the best players to win more games and achieve your goals.”

Dembele has registered 19 goals and 17 assists in 72 appearances for Barcelona since joining from Dortmund two years ago, but injuries and personal issues have plagued his time at Camp Nou.

While the club recently reaffirmed their commitment to him as a key player in the post-Lionel Messi era to come, he has completed 90 minutes just once this season and has only one goal to show for his seven appearances.

Dembele was not selected for France’s squad for the current international break, with Didier Deschamps’ side looking to secure qualification for Euro 2020 with fixtures against Moldova and Albania.