Ousmane Dembele did not turn up for training with Borussia Dortmund and they don’t know why.
Let’s take a guess…
[ MORE: Coutinho not for sale ]
The French international striker, 20, is said to be the subject of a $110 million-plus bid from Barcelona as they look at players to replace Neymar following his $262 million move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Dortmund manager Peter Bosz confirmed Dembele wasn’t training with the team.
“Dembele didn’t show up for training today,” Bosz said. “We don’t know where he is. We couldn’t reach him today. I talked to Dembele yesterday. He told me he had been in Paris with his friends. He did not say anything about a transfer. There was no sign yesterday that Ousmane would not be here today. We hope nothing terrible has happened.”
Later on Thursday Dortmund released a statement saying they had rejected a bid for Dembele from Barca because they “received a bid that does not match his extraordinary footballing ability or value to the club.”
Reports circulated that Dembele is back in Paris waiting for the word to fly to Barcelona and seal his move to the Nou Camp with some suggesting he could be a Barca player in “a few hours” time. However Dortmund have since suspended Dembele until next week and have fined him for his behavior with no deal close to being agreed, as far as they’re concerned.
It is said that Dortmund want over $170 million for Dembele, knowing that Barca has that “Neymar cash” to splash around with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho also high on their list of targets this summer. With Barca set to offer closer to $120 million for the French forward, this deal seems more likely to go through than Coutinho to Barcelona.
Dortmund signed Dembele on a five-year contract from French club Rennes last summer for an initial fee of just $18 million (Rennes reportedly have a 25 percent sell-on clause) and he had a stellar campaign for the Bundesliga giants, scoring 10 goals and adding 21 assists in 49 games in all competitions.
Now it appears he is the perfect long-term replacement for Neymar, while Coutinho is apparently still earmarked to replace Andres Iniesta.
Maybe this move could mean Barca back down on Coutinho for now and go back in for the Brazilian playmaker next summer?