There are growing signs that Borussia Dortmund are about to part company with talented young forward Ousmane Dembele for a tidy profit. There is also an indication that the player's thoughts may already be elsewhere.
Amid reports that the transfer of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona could already be a done deal, all the journalists gathered for the Bundesliga club's Wednesday morning training session were wondering one thing: Would the 20-year-old French attacker be there? He was. This has been widely interpreted as a sign that while a deal could be close, it isn't quite done yet.
Watzke: 'no comment'
As early as Thursday afternoon a number of media outlets reported that a delegation of officials from the Catalan club were on their way to Germany's Ruhr valley to try to finalize a deal. The German sports publication "Kicker" reported on its website that Dortmund were demanding at least 120 million euros ($141 million) for Dembele. Asked by the SID news agency on Wednesday whether he could confirm this, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke declined to comment.
Nice to met you... It looks like new BVB coach Peter Bosz won't have much of a chance to get to know Ousmane Dembele
150-million euros in total?
Spanish papers have reported in their Wednesday editions that Barca are likely prepared to pay a total of 150 million for the talented youngster, with 30 million of this to go to French club Rennes, the club that Dortmund bought him from last summer. This would make it the second-most-expensive transfer in football history after last week's 222-million-euro deal that saw Brazilian attacker Neymar move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. In financial terms, it would also be a tidy bit of business for Dortmund, as they paid just a reported 15 million euros for him 12 months ago. They may however, miss his contribution on the pitch, after a first season at the club in which he scored 10 goals and assisted on 21 more.
Some are also trying to read Dembele's mind – through his social media accounts. He has now removed "Borussia Dortmund" and the hashtag "#7 Echte Liebe" from his Twitter and Instagram profiles. However, to be fair, his profile picture on Twitter still has a cartoon figure of him in a Dortmund kit and for now, at least, he remains in "Dortmund, Allemagne."
The question on the minds of reporters on the Dortmund beat now is: Will he be in the lineup for the Bundesliga team's first round German Cup match away to sixth-tier Rielasingen-Arlen? It doesn't look like a good bet.