It’s easy to see why Manchester United, Bayern Munich and just about every other wealthy club in Europe is eyeing Rennes starlet Ousmane Dembele.
The 18-year-old’s breakthrough year at Les Rouges et Noirs has seen him beguile whole phalanxes of watching scouts, putting up calculator-busting numbers in the process.
He has registered ten goals and five assists in 19 games in 2015/16, reaching the former total in less time than any other teenager in Ligue 1 history.
Dembele may be plying his trade at the unglamorous Britanny outfit, but his attacking stats put his overall contribution ahead Europe’s better-known teenager sensations already.
Scoring league goals at a ratio of 0.70 per 90 minutes played, he is streets ahead of Bayern Munich’s much-lauded Kingsley Coman (0.25), Schalke’s Leroy Sane (0.25), or Spoting Gijon’s Barcelona loanee Alen Halilovic (0.14).
Among the wonderkids, only United’s Marcus Rashford is ahead of him on 0.81, although the Reds youngster has only made four top-flight appearances.
The Rennes tyro also leads the way on shots (3.08), key passes (1.89) and assists (0.35) per 90 minutes played among the aforementioned quintet.
Next in his wake on those three counts are Sane (2.48), Coman (1.62) and Coman again (0.31) respectively.
The fact that the latter has only recently turned in a match-winning Champions League round of 16 performance for Bayern against Juventus shows that Dembele is already among the continent’s leading teenage talents.
Halilovic, meanwhile, gets closest to his stellar take-on success ratio of 67%, registering 54.74%, advertising the latter’s superb dribbling ability.
The numbers alone testify to just how exciting the eighteen-year-old’s talent is.
However, the context in which he has been producing them only serves to heighten the feeling that, as former Man Utd centre-half Mikael Silvestre has said, he may be a Ballon d’Or winner of the future.
Prior to Dembele’s first team arrival, Rennes finished ninth in Ligue 1 last season, scoring the fourth fewest goals in the division.
This term they are fifth in the division and very much in the Champions-League-qualification picture, having been outscored by only Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, with their starlet having made no small contribution to the cause.