Just 24 minutes of action: it's not going brilliantly for former Celtic hero Moussa Dembélé at new club

By Euan Davidson

March 12, 2021

Former Celtic goalscorer Moussa Dembélé is enduring a difficult start to life at Atlético Madrid.

The on-loan French sensation has had a rough time of it so far. Days after joining his new club on loan from Lyon, the striker contracted Covid-19 [Football-Espana]. Still adapting to Diego Simeone’s tactical style in the Spanish capital, Dembélé made squads against Eibar, Valencia and Cadiz, but didn’t feature [Marca].

Making his bow in a 2-0 loss to Levante on the 20th of February, Dembélé had little time to make an impact. Over 16 minutes, he took 2 shots and looked rusty, earning a 5.9 rating from WhoScored?.

Then, in an 8-minute cameo against Chelsea, the former Celtic striker couldn’t make the difference as Atlético slumped to another defeat. The results are hardly his fault, nor is catching Covid-19, but he’ll have expected more fireworks from his Spanish stint.

Dembélé faces competition from legendary striker Luis Suarez. The former Liverpool man, brought in by Diego Simeone in the 2020 summer window, has been outstanding in the Spanish capital. The Argentinian coach tends to play with one striker ahead of two creative number 10s. Joao Felix and Ángel Correa have been impressive during 20-21.

Moussa Dembélé battling Levante in a cameo appearance / (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images)

Celtic will be hoping it gets better for Moussa Dembélé

Poor Moussa.

After an injury-ruined season at Lyon, the Atlético move seemed like a perfect opportunity for the striker. Dembélé, who scored 51 goals for Celtic [Transfermarkt], has been blighted by circumstance for the entire season.

Arriving in Madrid with much fanfare, he’ll have been cognisant of the competition he faces to get into the team. Providing an entirely different option to Suarez, there’d been hope that the Frenchman would form an incredible front-3 with Felix and Suarez.

The Uruguayan controversy magnet has had an incredible season so far, however. Leading the line, he’s scored 18 La Liga goals and set up a further 2 [Transfermarkt]. At 34, he doesn’t seem to be in any mood to slow down.

Given that Celtic have a ten percent sell-on fee attached to his next move [Express], the Bhoys have a vested interest in Moussa Dembélé performing well. An absolute steal when Brendan Rodgers took him to Celtic in 2016, he’s already made the club £19.8m.

The Celtic directors and supporters will be watching on in interest. Here’s hoping Moussa Dembélé can turn around his fortunes in the Spanish capital.

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