The specialist who operated on Ousmane Dembele’s knee last month says the pressure on the player to justify his price tag following a €105 million move to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund could have led to the injury.
Dembele, 20, joined Barca in a club-record deal in August but ruptured a tendon while making just his third appearance for his new club against Getafe in September.
Barca subsequently sent the France international to Finland, where he was operated on by Sakari Orava and ruled out of action for three-and-a-half months.
Speaking at the time, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said inexperience was to blame for the injury, and Orava is inclined to agree.
“Maybe it was a sin of youth not to say that he felt pain in that area before,” he told Mundo Deportivo. “The pressure he’d been exposed to after his signing for Barca also could have influenced it.”
Dembele ambitiously suggested he would be back within two months on social media and is still hopeful of playing the first La Liga Clasico of the season against Real Madrid on Dec. 23.
However, Orava feels the original recovery time remains a more sensible estimate for how long the forward will be out of action.
“I am in permanent contact with [Barca’s] Dr. Pruna, who is sending me reports about what Dembele’s doing,” he added.
“So far, everything’s going fine; his recovery is going well. Like most kids his age, he’s optimistic [saying two months], but I prefer to be a little more cautious and stick with [the original assessment].”
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.