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Ronald Koeman strengthens Coutinho, Griezmann, de Jong & Dembélé

When Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain in late summer 2017, the French transferred € 222 million to Catalonia. Money that FC Barcelona could use today – but that’s another topic.

A good three years ago, Barca decided to invest the money in new players who could be the future face of the club.

At first this venture was not a lucky star. But that’s changing at the moment – despite all the other problems the Catalans have. (La Liga: Schedule and Results)

Dembélé, Coutinho and Griezmann as successors

As the immediate successor to Neymar, Ousmane Dembélé came from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 – under the well-known sign of a strike. 105 of the 222 million euros were transferred to the Ruhr area. The total transfer fee has now risen to around 130 million euros through bonuses.

The Frenchman fell far short of the high expectations and rarely showed his talent. His early days were marked by many injuries, partying nights and poor nutrition.

Perhaps because of this, they were refilled in January 2018 – Phillipe Coutinho came from Liverpool for a whopping 145 million euros. But Neymar’s compatriot did not turn out to be the new Neymar either.

Therefore, the next attempt was made in summer 2019. With Antoine Griezmann, Barca made a long-awaited transfer. 120 million euros went to Atlético Madrid. At first it seemed as if this sum too had been ignored.

But the former superstar seems to be slowly becoming one again – and Dembélé is also becoming increasingly important for Barca.

Koeman gets the best out of the hopefuls

Last summer, Ronald Koeman was installed as a coach to restore the last pale hopefuls to their shine.

The Dutchman is a specialist when it comes to getting the best out of his players – the 57-year-old has proven that at practically every station. It is the same in Barcelona.

Griezmann’s performance did not allow for any improvement at the start of the season. But Koeman put his trust in him anyway and it is now paying off. In January, the 29-year-old scored six goals and set up another six. He is one of the faces for the sporting upswing that Blaugrana has been able to achieve since the beginning of the new year.

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Another is Dembélé, who worked harder with the medical department at the start of the season than perhaps never before in his career. In December, a thigh injury incapacitated the 23-year-old, but since then he has become a regular player.

Koeman should work a lot on his mental strength with Dembélé – and the game of his protégé has improved significantly as a result.

Nobody doubted the talent of the winger in Barcelona, ​​but now Dembélé brings his fast movements and body deceptions onto the pitch more consistently than has probably never been the case at Barca.

And what about Coutinho?

Koeman also welcomed the Brazilian with open arms after his return from FC Bayern and made him a regular. Coutinho knew how to convince in some games – but tore the outer meniscus in early January.

In the summer, however, few would have believed that the 28-year-old would have a future at Barca at all. Koeman gave him confidence and responsibility – just like Griezmann and Dembélé.

De Jong also flourishes under Koeman

A similar phenomenon can also be seen in Frenkie de Jong.

When the central midfielder left for Barcelona in the summer of 2019, he seemed an ideal fit for the club. But his first season was disappointing and many a fan was probably wondering whether the hype about the 70 million purchase from Ajax Amsterdam was justified.

But in the meantime the 23-year-old has integrated into the Barca system and you can imagine him as a bearer of hope for the next few years. This is also due to the fact that Koeman has given his compatriot a slightly more offensive role in midfield.

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Due to the system change, de Jong has recently appeared unleashed and has scored five goals since the beginning of the year. (La Liga: table)

Overall, Barca coach Koeman has got around € 465million back up and running – a remarkable achievement that goes under in times of Catalonia’s financial crisis.

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