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Revitalised Ousmane Dembele can help Barcelona fill Neymar void

Ousmane Dembele endured a rough start to his Barcelona career but the French winger appears to be finding his feet at a crucial time in the season.

Barcelona signed him in August from Borussia Dortmund for a then club record fee of 105 million euros ($129 million), plus a potential 40 million in add-ons, hoping he could replace Neymar after PSG had swooped for the Brazilian.

Two serious injuries limited Dembele's participation until recent weeks, and even after he started playing regularly he was making little impact in matches.

In Barcelona's 2-0 win over Malaga on Saturday, however, Dembele shone, setting up Philippe Coutinho with a brilliant turn and cross to draw praise from his team mates.

With Coutinho Cup-tied in the Champions League, Dembele could provide the flair Barcelona lost when Neymar departed, starting in Wednesday's last-16 second leg against Chelsea at the Nou Camp with the tie level at 1-1.

Reports in Spain have suggested Neymar wants a return to Barca, which players including Ivan Rakitic and Coutinho have welcomed.

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