Barcelona have made an impressive start to the new season, but reports claim that Lionel Messi is eager to see changes made to the starting line-up.
The Catalan giants secured the Spanish Super Cup earlier this month and have won their opening two games of the La Liga season with victories over Alaves and Valladolid.
Ousmane Dembele has scored key goals in those games and is seemingly moving in the right direction to prove his worth at the Nou Camp after a difficult, injury-plagued first campaign in Spain.
However, according to Don Balon, Messi remains unconvinced by his overall play and ability to fit into the style of Barcelona, and is said to be keen on Philippe Coutinho being brought forward into a more advanced role with summer signing Arthur stepping into a midfield position.
That’s in contrast to a report last week though which suggested that the partnership between Messi and Dembele is improving, as per The Express, and so it’s unclear as to which is accurate and what system and personnel the Argentine superstar prefers.
Provided positive results are arriving, that should be the best indication of what Ernesto Valverde must do, and with Dembele scoring crucial goals and having a positive impact after such a struggle last year, it’s arguably the best decision to keep him in the side.
Should the Frenchman drop out of the starting line-up though, that would suggest that either Messi’s influence on the team is significant or perhaps Valverde does still have reservations over Dembele.
Nevertheless, with summer signing Malcom also an option as well as Coutinho playing in a more attacking role and replacing him in midfield, the Barcelona coach has the luxury of having quality options at his disposal and he’ll likely relish finding the right balance this season in their pursuit of major honours.