Ronald Koeman has expressed his disappointment about losing Ousmane Dembele to a serious knee injury, as the Barcelona manager believes the Frenchman is irreplaceable in his attack.
At Euro 2020, Dembele suffered major damage to his right knee while playing for France against Hungary having come off the bench minutes earlier.
Dembele had an operation in Finland under the supervision of Dr. Lasse Lempainen and the Barcelona medical staff.
The French winger will not feature until October at the earliest, which is a massive disappointment for Koeman as he looks to kickstart a LaLiga title bid.
‘He contributed a lot to us last year. He is something different to what we have,’ Koeman said, as per Spanish newspaper Marca.
‘I am very disappointed about his injury. Also the situation with his contract it’s complicated. I hope he can return soon.’
It was discovered that Dembele had torn his biceps femoris muscle in his right knee.
His recovery schedule means that he is unlikely to return to the club before the end of October, keeping him out of playing for the first seven weeks of the new season.
Injuries have become all too regular for Dembele as he has missed as many as 86 games for Barcelona through injury since joining the club in 2017.
With Dembele’s contract up at the end of the season, Barcelona had explored a possible sale with reports in Spain crediting Manchester United with interest back in March.
But after Dembele played 44 matches in the 2020-21 season for Koeman’s team, scoring 11 goals to kickstart his career at the Nou Camp, the Dutchman has thrown him a lifeline.
It was a marked improvement compared to the previous season when he only played nine matches and scored only one goal.
Dembele joined Barcelona in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund for a transfer fee of £124million and plenty was expected when pairing him with Lionel Messi.
Health has hindered his progress but after a much-improved season last time out, Koeman knows the value he has and he will now have to find solutions to manage without him for the beginning of the season.