Why Ousmane Dembele was at Sunderland vs Sheffield Utd
Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele has been nursing a hamstring injury for the past two and a half months and was bizarrely spotted at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light this week.
The Frenchman, who had until recently enjoyed a clean bill of injury health since Xavi took over at Camp Nou, was in attendance on Wednesday night as Sunderland hosted Sheffield United in the Championship – the visiting Blades returned home with all three points.
Television cameras picked up Dembele in the executive box. Sadly, for Black Cats fans it is not because the once €145m star is about to complete the most unexpected transfer of all time.
As it turns out, Dembele is actually friends with Sunderland chairman and majority owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus and has been for a number of years. His visit to Wearside…a social call.
Louis-Dreyfus is only 25 now, but was 23 when he bought into Sunderland in early 2021. His stake at that time was 41%, but he increased it to a controlling 51% in the summer of 2022.
He was born in Switzerland and hails from the wealthy Louis-Dreyfus family, who have operated the Louis Dreyfus Company since 1851. The French merchant firm record net sales worth $49.6bn in 2021. Kyril is a great-great grandson of the company’s founder, Leopold Louis-Dreyfus.
The Sunderland owner, whose late father Robert was CEO at adidas in the 1990s, attended boarding school in Singapore but later studied in Leeds, while his own attempts to become a professional footballer were hampered by injuries.
He has known Dembele for at least five years, with the pair pictured together as part of a group in Miami in 2018. At that time, Dembele was still relatively new at Barcelona, having completed his move from Borussia Dortmund the year before.
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