Abidal speaks on failed Neymar transfer, Deschamps gives Dembele verdict, Koeman expects exciting title race

Ousmane Dembele-Barcelona

Abidal speaks about failed Neymar pursuit

Former technical director Eric Abidal has revealed that Barcelona had an opportunity to sign Neymar in the summer of 2019 but they instead went with Antoine Griezmann.

Abidal said,

“I went to Paris to talk with Leonardo [PSG’s sporting director] and I was with my CEO, and we were talking about Neymar.

“I think if the CEO goes to Paris Saint-Germain, it’s because we can sign him. If we didn’t sign Griezmann before, I think 100 per cent we could have re-signed Neymar because what we needed was a winger and when Neymar was in Barcelona he was amazing.”

However, Neymar has changed his stance on his desired return to Nou Camp over the course as he is set to sign a long-term deal with PSG.

Deschamps wants the best version of Dembele

France manager Didier Deschamps has said that he wants Ousmane Dembele to be more effective with the national team.

Dembele, who looks to have found his feet at Barca this season, made it to the Deschamp’s squad for the forthcoming qualifiers after two years.

Now, Deschamps is expecting similar returns from the 23-year-old at the national team.

“Now he is able to play again, he is able to make the difference and score goals. He could score more and be more effective,” he said.

“It is not a question of changing him. He has been playing at the highest level for a long time. He is young. It would be good for him, for his club and for us if he could become more efficient.

“Of course, this is something that needs to be worked on. As you mature, you may make better choices. All forwards have moments when they are less efficient than others.”

Koeman hoping for a thrilling title race

Barca steamrolled Real Sociedad on Sunday and Ronald Koeman couldn’t have expected a better result.

The win also allowed Barca to go ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid in the La Liga table and are not far behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

With the league reaching the business end, the Catalans manager Ronald Koeman is expecting a thrilling title race.

“Every game is difficult For us and for [Atletico]. Real Madrid are there too. It’s going to be exciting until the end of the season.

“I now hope all the players can return from the break without problems. They have given me a great birthday present, while it has also been a great birthday for Jordi Alba and Antoine Griezmann.”