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Dortmund reject Barcelona’s €100m offer for Dembélé and suspend player

(L-R) Dortmund's Spanish defender Marc Bartra, Dortmund's French midfielder Ousmane Dembele and Dortmund's US midfielder Christian Pulisic walk over the pitch during a press event of...

Borussia Dortmund have rejected Barcelona’s opening offer for Ousmane Dembélé and suspended the France forward after he missed a training session on Thursday.

Dortmund have insisted the France forward is “unlikely” to complete a transfer to Spain unless they receive an improved offer, despite reports in France and Germany suggesting the 20-year-old is on the verge of moving to Barcelona. A statement from the German club confirmed the offer from Barça – understood to be €100m – had been rejected.

“There has been a discussion with Barcelona in regards to a possible transfer of Ousmane Dembélé,” read the statement, which was released to the German stock exchange. “In these talks Barcelona have presented an offer that does not match the extraordinary footballing and otherwise status of the player and also not the current market situation. BVB have turned this offer down.

“And as there is no other offer from Barcelona a transfer should not be expected and is at this moment in time unlikely.”

Dortmund’s sporting director later said Dembélé would be fined and suspended. “Ousmane Dembélé missed training today without notifying the club and has clearly taken this action consciously. We will obviously sanction him for this,” Michael Zorc said. “We have also suspended the player until after the cup game at the weekend.”

It is understood Dembélé went to Paris on Thursday evening to visit friends and family, and is awaiting news as the clubs continue to negotiate the fee.

Talks have been continuing for several days, with Dortmund insistent they would not accept less than €150m for the player they signed from Rennes last summer for a 10th of that cost. Dembélé was pictured in the official team photo on Wednesday but the Dortmund manager, Peter Bosz, said the player had failed to show up on Thursday.

“He wasn’t there this morning and if I am completely honest I have to say I have no idea why he wasn’t,” Bosz said. “We have tried to reach him but we have not managed to. I hope nothing bad has happened to him. He wasn’t there.

Asked if it was linked to Barcelona’s interest, Bosz said: “That I do not know as I haven’t spoken to him.”

A report in the French newspaper L’Equipe claimed Dembélé will fly to Barcelona “in the coming hours” to sign a long-term contract. Sky Sports in Germany has also reported he is set to join Ernesto Valverde’s side.

On Wednesday, Barcelona failed with a £90m bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, with Jürgen Klopp reiterating on Thursday the Brazilian is not for sale at any price.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Ed Aarons, for The Guardian on Thursday 10th August 2017 14.12 Europe/London

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