Dembele versatility excites Barcelona boss Valverde
Ernesto Valverde is excited by the versatility new Barcelona arrival Ousmane Dembele will offer his attack.
Barca reached an agreement to sign Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for an initial fee of €105million on Friday, with the France international set to sign a five-year contract.
Valverde cannot wait to work with the 20-year-old, who he feels provides him with multiple tactical options.
"He is a player who guarantees offensive depth, the depth that we have lost and that we need," Valverde said ahead of Saturday's LaLiga trip to Alaves.
"He is a player who can play on both sides of attack, also in the middle, so that gives us a lot of possibilities.
"He is quick, skilful and we hope he will be able to bring a lot to the team. We are very excited about this player. We have got high hopes, we still need to get to know him on a personal level. It is going to be great to get to know him at the club.
"Last year at Dortmund you could already see he was a good player. Barcelona were also looking at him back then.
"Borussia Dortmund have been able to see in person just what a quality player he is and let's hope he lives up to every expectation here and brings us lots of joy."
The deal for Dembele could reach a total of €147m if all add-on conditions are met and Valverde concedes the transfer market has ballooned.
Asked about the fee, the Barca boss said: "Yeah, well we know what the transfer market is like at the moment.
"The last few days things have just been exploding. It seems all clubs are going to be signing the most expensive players in their history, because the prices are flying up and it may well be based on the buyout clause of Neymar.
"But when players go onto the pitch I don't think they worry about who has cost more, who has cost less. We are just excited about this new player arriving.
"It is always a problem when you can't get him a player in for pre-season, already the big games are upon us so there is not much time for him to train with the team.
"The club have only just made the announcement so give me a moment to think about things. I've obviously got a lot of data that we have been looking at and this international break is a time where we can really settle down and get to know him better and try to find where we are going to fit him into the team. I imagine he will have been training."
On the fact Dembele only turned professional two years ago, Valverde added: "That is incredible. We are at a time when transfer fees are booming but he is a top quality player."
Valverde, though, was reluctant to compare the skillset of Dembele with Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record €222m.
"The difference is basic," he said. "Dembele is with us, Neymar is not. So why compare the two? One of them isn't with us, so that is not relevant. Neymar was wonderful for us but he is no longer here so he is no use to us, is he?"