New responsibilities. At 25, Moussa Dembélé is no longer the same footballer, nor the same young man who joined Olympique Lyonnais for €22 million in the summer of 2018. Aged 22 at the time, the player trained at PSG , returned through the front door in France after having shone in the jersey of Fulham then that of Celtic, arrived with the label of a young talent whose rating was at the highest. Three years later, the Frenchman is on the next stage, that of a more mature player, composed and in the prime of life in a football career.
It was with this maturity and a positive state of mind that he returned to OL last summer after a six-month loan to Atlético de Madrid. An enriching experience abroad which allowed him to evolve and learn alongside Koke, Thomas Lemar, Jan Oblak, João Félix and Luis Suarez and under the orders of Diego Simeone. A technician who demanded a lot of effort from him and who passed on his energy and his desire to never let go. What he had already known at Fulham and Celtic and which he brought back in his luggage once he returned to Les Gones. But it is a changed club that the Frenchman has found.
Peter Bosz gave him responsibilities
Rudi Garcia left, Peter Bosz, arrived with the aim of imposing his philosophy of play and revolutionizing the Rhone formation. The Dutchman had also quickly indicated to his management that he wanted to keep the striker in his workforce when he was courted. He even made him his vice-captain, just to show his confidence in him and to entrust him with more important responsibilities. Quickly, the native of Pontoise responded with 4 goals during the first 5 days. But he was stopped in his tracks on September 22 against Troyes (3-1 victory).
“Moussa Dembélé, victim last night of a direct impact on the right fibula during the OL / Troyes match, has a localized crack which will cause several weeks of unavailability”, announced OL the next day. A real tile for the Gones, who lost their number 1 offensive weapon, and for the player, who practically had to start from scratch with physical preparation to redo during the season. Two months later, on November 25, the 25-year-old returned to action against Brøndby in the Europa League before settling against Paris FC in the Coupe de France on December 17.
He is having his best season in the league
After the truce, a period he took advantage of to continue working, Dembélé came back strong in 2022. If everything was not perfect, the Frenchman tried to bring his qualities in front of goal and did a job of l necessary shade, by multiplying the calls in particular. Result: he totals 16 goals in all competitions in 2022, including 15 in the league. With Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappé, he is the top scorer in the calendar year of the five major championships (L1, Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga).
All competitions combined, the Lyonnais (5 assists) has 21 goals, including 19 in L1. What is his record on a year in the league. But the man who is Lyon’s top scorer of the season has already done better in all competitions since he had scored 32 goals for Celtic in one year. Anyway, the player under contract until 2023 shows rather good passage times, he who remains on 7 goals in his last 5 matches. Not bad for a player who some say needs too many chances to score. But the numbers prove it yet, Moussa Dembélé is a fairly effective finisher.
Dembélé has a better ratio than several big stars
In the league, the striker, supervised several times by MU and Arsenal, displays a ratio of one goal every 4.05 shots. All in 2176 minutes. They are only two to be more effective in Europe: Darwin Nuñez (Benfica, 1 goal every 3.08 shots, 2077 minutes) and Erling Haaland (BVB, 1 goal every 3.33 shots, 1928 minutes). Dembélé therefore does better than Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, 1 goal every 4.32 shots, 3010 minutes), Lautaro Martinez (Inter, 1 goal every 5 shots, 2204 minutes), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, 1 goal every 5 .5 shots, 2897 minutes) or even Harry Kane (Tottenham, 1 goal every 8.15 shots, 3192 minutes).
He also has a better ratio in the league than several French players. Karim Benzema (1 goal every 4.38 shots, 2578 minutes), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan, 1 goal every 5.55 shots, 1880 minutes), Kylian Mbappé (PSG, 1 goal every 6.33 shots, 3003 minutes), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético, 1 goal every 14 shots, 1841 minutes) or even Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal, 1 goal every 9.75 shots, 1814 minutes), whom the supporters want to bring back to Lyon, are doing less well than him. Most of it by playing in higher caliber clubs and less in the tough than OL, which is having a disastrous season.
A leader who takes more and more power
Despite everything, this does not prevent the striker from having interesting statistics, knowing that he is doing better than Memphis Depay, for example, who scored 1 goal for every 5.75 shots last year. Of course, the numbers don’t explain everything, but they don’t lie. Moussa Dembélé can and must still be obviously more surgical and much better in the last gesture and in the zone of truth where he sometimes had a few failures, but he is having an honorable season, he who has also taken his responsibilities in the Rhone locker room . A locker room where he is appreciated, listened to and where he does not hesitate to speak out much more and advise the youngest elements in particular. He is one of Lyon’s leaders this season.
Vice-captain, he has also inherited the armband several times in the absence of Dubois. We have therefore seen him express himself in the media more often, which he does not necessarily like, but that he does this going hand in hand with his new status. This season, he met the supporters. He also addressed them, regretting the points lost and the various incidents, but extending his hand to them so that everyone pulls in the same direction at the end of the season. What he tries to do on the field by chaining the goals and next by speaking. This Thursday, it was he who came to face the media. The opportunity to discuss his season and his leadership.
“Individually, I am living well this season. Collectively, this is not good. I tried to help the team any way I could. I scored goals, but it’s not enough. I will try to score in the last two games. The captaincy allowed me to assert myself as a leader. I am young. I have room for improvement. When I arrived, there were already leaders. I tried to make room for myself. I like to push my teammates to give the maximum.What is certain is that OL will need him to end this 2021-22 financial year on a high note, marked by poor results, the crisis and tensions with supporters. What necessarily change a Moussa Dembélé who has grown well this year on the ground as in life.