Barca tar­get Dem­bele in hot wa­ter at Dort­mund Cov­eted young­ster sus­pended for no-show af­ter club re­jects of­fer

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BERLIN — Borus­sia Dort­mund on Thurs­day said it had re­jected an of­fer from Barcelona for Ous­mane Dem­bele as the want­away for­ward was sus­pended for miss­ing train­ing.

Dort­mund said a move by Dem­bele to Camp Nou, where he is be­ing lined up as a re­place­ment for Ney­mar, was un­likely, af­ter it turned down an of­fer that did not re­flect the 20-year-old French­man’s “ex­tra­or­di­nary” value or the cur­rent state of the trans­fer mar­ket.

“As there is no other of­fer on the table, a trans­fer by the player to FC Barcelona is not at this time ex­pected, nor cur­rently very likely,” said a club state­ment.

Dem­bele, who is con­sid­ered one of the top young tal­ents in Europe, is wanted by Barca to fill the void left by Ney­mar’s move to Paris Saint-Ger­main for a world-record $260 mil­lion last week.

Ger­man tabloid Bild re­ported that Dort­mund want an eye-wa­ter­ing $175 mil­lion for their ris­ing star, a price Barca ap­pear un­will­ing to pay.

Dem­bele, who has made no se­cret of his de­sire to play for Barcelona, failed to show up for prac­tice on Thurs­day.

“We don’t know why he didn’t show. We tried to reach him but we were un­able to,” Dort­mund coach Peter Bosz told re­porters.

Unim­pressed, Dort­mund promptly sus­pended Dem­bele for his un­ex­plained ab­sence.

“We will of course sanc­tion this mis­con­duct,” Dort­mund’s sport­ing di­rec­tor Michael Zorc said in a state­ment, adding that Dem­bele was sus­pended un­til af­ter this week­end’s Ger­man Cup match against min­nows Rielasin­genArlen.

Bild sug­gested that Dem­bele may have been try­ing to break the dead­lock in the ne­go­ti­a­tions with his no-show.

“Dem­bele re­ally wants to go to Barcelona but yes­ter­day he had to swal­low the fact that the two clubs could not agree on a trans­fer fee,” read a Bild re­port.

Spec­u­la­tion about Dem­bele’s pos­si­ble move to La Liga reached fever pitch this week af­ter the France in­ter­na­tional deleted the words “Borus­sia Dort­mund” and the team’s slo­gan — “True Love” — from his Twit­ter and In­sta­gram pro­files.


He told Gol TV last week that it was “a plea­sure” to see his name on Barca’s wish list.

Ney­mar’s stun­ning de­par­ture to PSG has sent Barca scram­bling for a re­place­ment be­fore the trans­fer win­dow shuts.

Barca is look­ing for some­one to slot into its feared at­tack along­side Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Coutinho chase

The Cata­lan gi­ant has also ap­proached Liver­pool about sign­ing Philippe Coutinho, although there has been no sign of a deal as yet.

The Span­ish club was re­ported to have in­creased its bid for Brazil in­ter­na­tional Coutinho to around $115 mil­lion on Wed­nes­day af­ter two pre­vi­ous of­fers were re­jected by the Premier League side.

But Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp re­mains adamant the 25-year-old for­mer In­ter Mi­lan player will stay at An­field no mat­ter what Barca is pre­pared to pay.

“We want to have the best pos­si­ble team. This means keep­ing the guys we have,” Klopp told Sky in Ger­many on Thurs­day.

“Liver­pool is not a club that needs to sell. That is set in stone. So what they pay in the end doesn’t mat­ter.”

Pre­co­cious for­ward Dem­bele, who has won seven caps for his coun­try, joined Dort­mund last sum­mer from French side Rennes for just $18 mil­lion.

He went on to en­joy a promis­ing first sea­son in the Bun­desliga, scor­ing six times in 32 ap­pear­ances.

Dem­bele’s skills, in­clud­ing a se­ries of daz­zling as­sists, quickly im­pressed and earned him ‘wun­derkind’ head­lines in the Ger­man me­dia, although he has been crit­i­cized at times for lack­ing dis­ci­pline.

“I’m not a phe­nom­e­non, I’m just try­ing to be de­ci­sive for my team­mates. There are a lot of tal­ented young peo­ple in foot­ball,” a mod­est Dem­bele said last March.

Ous­mane Dem­bele

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