Borussia Dortmund suspend Ousmane Dembele indefinitely for going AWOL in bid to force Barcelona move

The 20-year-old has been banished from the first team after trying to force through a move to Barcelona in an effort to replace Neymar at the Nou Camp

Jack de Menezes
Sunday 13 August 2017 11:01 BST
Ousmane Dembele has been suspended indefinitely by Borussia Dortmund
Ousmane Dembele has been suspended indefinitely by Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund have extended Ousmane Dembele’s suspension indefinitely after the France international went AWOL this week in an attempt to force through a move to Barcelona.

The 20-year-old skipped training on Thursday despite the club refusing to give him permission to speak to the Spanish club, who are ramping up their efforts to sign a replacement for Neymar after his £200m transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite Dortmund rejecting a €100m offer from Barcelona, the Frenchman travelled to Spain in the hope of sealing a move to the Nou Camp, and Dortmund responded by suspending him for the weekend's DFB-Pokal first-round encounter with minnows Rielasingen-Arlen.

Dembele is under contract with Dortmund until 2021, and the Bundesliga club have now made the decision not to lift the suspension on Dembele, with sporting director Michael Zorc telling Dortmund's website: "Our focus now is on a concentrated preparation of the team for the opening Bundesliga match against Wolfsburg next weekend.

"Ousmane Dembele has the possibility to do individual training away from the group."

Premier League transfer round-up: Liverpool resist Coutinho bid

Dembele joined Dortmund a little over 12 months ago from Rennes on a five-year contract and has attracted top European suitors after a breakout season at the Westfalenstadion.

He scored 10 times in 49 appearances in all competitions in the last campaign while he broke his duck for France with the winner in the 3-2 friendly triumph over England in June.

Barcelona are struggling to bring in a replacement for Neymar, given Liverpool also rejected a €100m [£90.4m] bid for Philippe Coutinho, despite the Brazil international handing in a transfer request by email on Friday.

Dembele has been banished from the first-team while the transfer dispute continues

Coutinho missed Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Watford on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp’s side opened their Premier League account with a nervy display, but while the club’s American owners, Fenway Sports Group, has insisted they will not sell Coutinho, Klopp doubted the prospect of keeping an unhappy player at the club against his will.

Additional reporting by PA

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