BORUSSIA Dortmund has rejected an initial offer from Barcelona for 20-year-old winger Ousmane Dembele, the Bundesliga club said yesterday.
Dortmund said a move to the Camp Nou was “not very likely” after it turned down an offer that did not reflect Dembele’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.
The announcement came after Dembele skipped a training session yesterday, sending the rumor mill into overdrive. German tabloid Bild reported that Dortmund wants an eye-watering 150 million euros (US$175 million) for its star, a price Barcelona appears unwilling to pay.
Dembele, who has made no secret of his desire to play for Barcelona, may have been trying to break the deadlock with his no-show, Bild suggested.
“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,” it wrote.
Barcelona is scrambling to find a replacement for Brazilian sensation Neymar, who last week left for Paris-Saint Germain for a record-breaking transfer fee of 222 million euros.
It has also approached Liverpool about signing Philippe Coutinho though there too there has been no sign of a deal.
Barcelona is reported to have increased its bid for Coutinho to 90 million pounds (US$115 million) this week after two previous offers were rejected by the English Premier League side.
But Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp remains adamant that the 25-year-old will stay at Anfield no matter what Barcelona is prepared to pay.
“We want to have the best possible team. This means keeping the guys we have,” Klopp told Sky Germany yesterday.
“Liverpool is not a club that needs to sell. So what they pay in the end doesn’t matter.”
The Merseyside club’s position on the Brazil international, who was a key player in Klopp’s squad last campaign, is boosted by Coutinho’s signing of a new five-year contract last season.
While Spanish media have suggested that a deal for Coutinho is close to completion, British media say Liverpool has not and will not make any plans to discuss the player’s future.