​​Barcelona have been handed a huge boost to their season, after being informed that their €105m summer signing Ousmane Dembélé is closing in on a return to full fitness - three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury.


As reported by Goal, the 20-year-old trained with the first team ahead of their Catalan derby against Espanyol, but isn't expected to be risked in the game as he is still not 100% match fit. The former ​Borussia Dortmund prodigy suffered a more serious hamstring season at the start of the season, which saw him ruled out for four months before making his return in January.

FC Barcelona Training Session

Dembélé is likely to be introduced slowly back into action, as he hasn't played a full ninety minutes all season for Barça. The tenacious Frenchman could make his return against Marcelino Toral's high-flying Valencia, when the two sides face off in the Copa Del Rey semi-final next Thursday.


Signed in the wake of Neymar's world record move to Paris Saint-Germain, Dembélé has endured a frustrating start to his career with the Catalan giants. Making just five appearances so far, Barça's plan to integrate the former Rennes youngster into a dynamic attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez has stalled significantly.

Meanwhile, the race to sign Barça winger Aleix Vidal is intensifying, ​with Atlético Madrid now taking an interest in signing the 28-year-old in the summer transfer window. Sevilla almost signed the Spaniard on loan the end of the January window, but their unwillingness to pay a €12m future fee saw the deal fall at the final hurdle.


Vidal's lack of first team appearances for his side have lead to player to become disillusioned with life at the Camp Nou, and Dembélé's return from injury will only see him fall further down Ernesto Valderde's pecking order. With Roma and ​Napoli also in the race to sign the former Alméria man will have a tough decision to make over his future at the end of the season.