PETE JENSON: Thomas Tuchel will believe he can get the best out of Ousmane Dembele, but injuries and questions over his attitude tarnished his time at Barcelona... so, with PSG pulling out of the race, is he worth the risk for Chelsea?

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Chelsea will be getting LaLiga's top assist provider if they sign France winger Ousmane Dembele this summer, and coach Thomas Tuchel will be reunited with a player he got the best out of in their brief time working together.

Dortmund were a thing to behold in the 2016 season with Dembele and current Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic both outstanding, managing nine goals between them and helping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to 31 goals as Bundesliga top scorer.

Tuchel left the club that summer and Dembele followed suit, later saying that Tuchel had been his favourite coach and that he would never have left had the manager stayed.

Tuchel seems convinced that he can get the best out of Dembele once more and new owner Todd Boehly wants some bold signings this summer. Bringing in the player who was the second most expensive signing in Barcelona's history would be one such statement, although not everyone at Chelsea is convinced. 

Chelsea are exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele (above)

The French star is out of contract this summer, meaning the Blues could sign him for nothing

The French star is out of contract this summer, meaning the Blues could sign him for nothing

The talent is obvious but the shortage of other serious suitors is ringing some alarm bells and the fact that the 25-year-old has tended not to end things on very amicable terms with his clubs is another.

Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have all stayed away from the French international who has been free to talk to other clubs for the last five months. But the positives are huge. 

He has two things no coach can give a player: pace to burn and a two-footedness that leaves him unsure of which foot to use to take penalties when he has to, and leaves defenders clueless as to which way he will go. He is also tactically switched on. He would never have thrived under Tuchel were that not true. 

Xavi would also have been far less keen on keeping him. Were it not for the Barcelona coach, Dembele might not have played again for Barcelona after he turned down the club's new contract offer in the last window.

Xavi insisted he be allowed to use a player who ended up weighing in with 13 assists, 11 of those coming after Xavi had fought successfully to get him back in the team.

Accusations of attitude problems have dogged him during his time at the club but they often had more to do with certain agendas being played out in the local media close to the club than to real problems.

There were times when it suited some that he was depicted as an airhead who turns up late for training and sat around eating pizza and playing video games when at home. 

Manager Thomas Tuchel (left) previously worked with Dembele at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and is seemingly convinced he can get the best out of the 25-year-old once again

Manager Thomas Tuchel (left) previously worked with Dembele at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and is seemingly convinced he can get the best out of the 25-year-old once again

Dembele said he would have never left Dortmund if Tuchel had also stayed with the club

Dembele said he would have never left Dortmund if Tuchel had also stayed with the club

Dembele suffered from not having any protectors at the club, in the media or in the dressing room. 

It has been suggested that one incident of lateness was provoked by team-mates playing practical jokes on him by giving him the wrong time for the start of training.

That also speaks of a lack of maturity on the players' part but when Xavi turned up he felt that young players such as Dembele were not being helped by the fact that the club had no rules in place to deter them from straying. 

He was stunned when he took over and asked the players what was in the code of conduct, and they pretty much said: what code of conduct?

Xavi brought in a tough rulebook and although Dembele was the first to fall foul of the new regime, turning up late for one session, he soon fell in line and once sessions began Xavi noted that no one trained better.

Accusations of attitude problems dogged him during his time at the Nou Camp but they often had more to do with certain agendas in the local media close to the club than to real problems

Accusations of attitude problems dogged him during his time at the Nou Camp but they often had more to do with certain agendas in the local media close to the club than to real problems

He also showed impressive mental strength when after the transfer window closed in January and he was whistled by Barcelona supporters every time he came on, he never crumbled under the animosity but carried on regardless and slowly won supporters over.

When he scored against Athletic Bilbao there was no fingers-in-ears protest to fans, he just ran to Xavi who patted him on the head.

That goal was his only strike all season and if Chelsea are expecting a free-scoring forward they would be disappointed. He has not got into double figures since his days at Rennes. 

But he makes others score and Aubameyang, who thrived back alongside him, never made any secret of wanting him to stay.

Happy under Xavi, Dembele made it clear in the last third of the season that he wanted to stay. But Barcelona's latest offer has no more satisfied the player's agent Moussa Sissoko than the one made at the end of last year.

Barca manager Xavi (pictured) has been clear about his desire for Dembele to stay in Catalonia

Barca manager Xavi (pictured) has been clear about his desire for Dembele to stay in Catalonia

But the Premier League side, backed by new owner Todd Boehly, could gamble on Dembele

But the Premier League side, backed by new owner Todd Boehly, could gamble on Dembele

Barcelona could yet make a final offer if they are given the green light by members on June 15 to sell up to 25 per cent of future television rights for the next 50 years to an investment fund. 

That could bring a huge capital injection and end the club's reliance on La Liga's 1:4 rule obliging them to create four times the amount in investment and revenue that they spend on new signings. 

Satisfying the player may still be difficult as they try to reduce a €560m wage bill down to around €400m.

Dembele would count as a new signing at Barcelona having run down his contract. If he becomes a new signing for Chelsea and not for Barcelona then the Premier League gets a player who is electric on his day. 

One that Xavi, and more importantly Tuchel, rates very highly.

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