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The five differences between Coutinho and Dembele

Coutinho was missed in Rome

Replacing Neymar was always going to be a difficult task, and those in charge at the Camp Nou elected to reinvest the money by signing Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, however, as their debut campaigns in Catalonia near an end, there are five key differences between the pair.

Both players have had mixed fortunes since arriving in Spain; Dembele has been struck by a serious knee injury, whilst the Brazilian has found minutes difficult to come by due to Ernesto Valverde's aversion to rotation.

For one of the two players there are serious doubts about the signing and whether or not it was made too early, and with the other there is a sense that the 2018/19 campaign will truly see him shine with the Blaugrana.

They were two very different signings
There's no doubt that both players arrived at the club in very different circumstances with Dembele joining a club in panic mode after Neymar's shock exit.

He came with the pressure of being the Blaugrana's most expensive ever signing at 115 million euros and he was one of the most promising young talents in world football.

Whilst his spell with Borussia Dortmund was beneficial, he wasn't yet fully rounded as a player and the reality is that Neymar's fee inflated the price significantly.

But Barcelona weren't in a position to say no.

The mood was altogether more positive by the time January came around, the team were cruising domestically and Coutinho arrived to a serene environment.

He drew attention with his fantastic performances for Liverpool and promised rejuvenation in midfield.

Adapting to the club
Talent isn't the question mark surrounding the French international, he's the perfect fit for Barcelona in that he's quick both mentally and physically, he creates chances and gives a team natural width.

Unfortunately, suffering a long-term injury right at the start of his Barcelona career set him back and being unable to speak Spanish was a hindrance early on as he was away from teammates on a day-to-day basis.

Coutinho arrived with much less time to adapt to the team's style but he had been doing his homework for months.

He knew the move was likely and he's been able to play a role within the squad immediately

Not forgetting he was already a very close friend to Luis Suarez and was able to settle off the pitch instantly.

Injuries
The Brazilian was injured when he signed and Dembele, as previously mentioned, was injured very early on, however, the difference was that the former Internazionale midfielder missed just four matches.

Dembele missed a grand total of 20 in all competitions.

He then suffered a setback after returning, which saw him miss seven more.

Coutinho has been able to show his qualities, whilst it's been all the more difficult for the former Stade Rennes winger to get on the pitch.

Performances
Whilst he's been cup-tied in the Champions League, Coutinho has been able to show how decisive he can be in domestic matches.

Dembele has often been just an option from the bench.

The Frenchman has started six matches and has scored just one goal, although he's contributed six assists.

Conversely, the former Liverpool star has started 10 matches and has scored two goals and added five assists.

Differing Futures
Obviously, it would be a major surprise if both players weren't at Barcelona for next season at the very least, with the financial commitment made to secure both individuals quite extraordinary - even by Los Cules' standards.

Both have to be given the opportunity to shine next season, although there is more confidence that Coutinho is an immediate fit.

Dembele will require more coaching and nurturing, and furthermore, there is no chance that another club will pay even close to what the Catalan's did for him last summer.

Should Andres Iniesta leave, then Coutinho becomes vital to the team dynamic, whilst if Dembele can avoid injuries, he may well be as crucial with Valverde likely to be pushed to return to the 4-3-3 system which the club has been synonymous with.

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