Transfers

Things to know about Siriki Dembele

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Jan 30, 2021, 1:02 PM GMT
Dembele has been linked with several clubs including Celtic and Rangers
Dembele has been linked with several clubs including Celtic and Rangers | Pete Norton/Getty Images
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As the January transfer window winds down, Sirkiri Dembele is still a name at the top of the list of targets for a number of clubs - including Newcastle, Celtic and Rangers.

There is a hell of a lot of footballing Dembeles to keep track off in 2021, so you are forgiven if this one has yet to appear on your radar.

Luckily, 90min is here to give you the lowdown on the 24-year-old who has also been linked with Newcastle and a spate of Championship clubs.

Family affair

Siriki could link up with his brother at Celtic
Siriki could link up with his brother at Celtic | Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

"Haven't Celtic already got one Dembele?" We hear you ask.

Yes, yes they do - and it's only Siriki's bloody brother. Karamoko Dembele made headlines a few years ago when he made his debut for the Hoops' Under-20s at the tender age of 13.

If Celtic get their wish, he could be joined by his sibling, who is seven years his senior. Alternatively, we could witness an Old Firm derby with the brothers on opposite sides. Now that would be something.

This is not the only family connection either. The Dembeles are also distantly related to both Yaya and Kolo Toure. That's some pedigree.

Interesting youth career

Matty Cash also earned his stripes at the Nike Football Academy
Matty Cash also earned his stripes at the Nike Football Academy | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Dembele had a hectic childhood by the sounds of things. Born in Ivory Coast in 1996, he moved to London at a young age to pursue football, before travelling north of the border and being snapped up by Dundee United as a youngster.

Following his release, Ayr United signed him but he called time on his stint there to trial for the Nike Football Academy in 2016.

A now defunct initiative which attempted to help unsigned under-20s earn their first professional contract, Dembele was one of only two English players to be accepted into that season's intake.

Nike Football Academy alumni include Aston Villa's Matty Cash, Celtic's Tom Rogic and most impressively of all, Gosport Borough defender Jordan Rose.

His agent is not popular

Dembele's agent has rufulled some feathers in the past
Dembele's agent has rufulled some feathers in the past | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Dembele recently handed a transfer request in at Peterborough - much to the dismay of Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony.

"I woke up the the transfer request from Siriki today. We received it over the weekend and we weren’t expecting it. His agent will be behind this. It’s what they do, but I have no idea why players go along with it," he told Peterborough Today.

It is not the first time that his agent has caused a stir either. While he was at Grimsby Town, Dembele also submitted a transfer request, just one year after the club had offered him his first taste of the professional game.

"After bringing the overlooked player into the EFL, the club expresses it's disappointment at the player's desire to leave," an official club statement read.

He can be a hot head

Dembele has only been sent off once in his professional career but boy, was it memorable.

Less than a minute after being introduced as a second half substitute against Lincoln City on New Year's Day 2019, he was sent off for a headbutt.

Well, not quite. It was one of those half headbutts that footballers do partway through an on-field argument. What's worse is that the dismissal came off the back of Dembele being absent from the side for five successive matches.

Fearsome dribbler

Dembele is probably the best dribbler outside the top two tiers - other than Wes Hoolahan
Dembele is probably the best dribbler outside the top two tiers - other than Wes Hoolahan | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Dembele has many qualities. He is quick, agile and is not afraid to shoot, racking up 2.31 shots per 90 minutes this season.

Dembele is also blessed with great vision, registering nine assists in 30 games last season and five so far during the current campaign.

However, his most potent weapon of all is his dribbling. His magnet-like feet have drawn comparisons with fellow Ivorian Wilfried Zaha. Although he is slighter than the Crystal Palace man, his ability to move the ball between each foot with razor-sharp precision is rather Zaha-esque.

Versatile

Another reason that Dembele is attracting so much interest is his ability to play multiple positions.

Though the majority of his appearances so far have come as a left winger, he is also comfortable operating on the opposite flank, as well as at centre forward. He has even been deployed as an attacking midfielder on occasion.

Over the past two seasons, his most productive spells have come as a striker but even when he is operating centrally he often pulls out wide to create space.

Undecided international allegiance

His brother has represented both England and Scotland at international level
His brother has represented both England and Scotland at international level | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Dembele's international allegiance remain unclear and if he continues on his current career trajectory there could be a fight to secure his services.

He is eligible to play for England, Scotland or the Ivory Coast and after not receiving youth caps for any of these countries, where he could end up playing remains a mystery.

If he does secure a move to one of the Old Firm clubs, his chances of attracting the attentions of Steve Clarke will only increase.

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