Barca target Dembele skips Dortmund training
Ousmane Dembele missed training with Borussia Dortmund on Thursday and has not accounted for his absence to head coach Peter Bosz, amid reports linking the France winger with Barcelona.
Following Neymar's world-record €222million move to Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona have been heavily linked with big-money moves for both Dembele and Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists the Premier League club would stand firm and had no need to sell Coutinho to Barca, Dembele's future was thrown into fresh doubt when Bosz told a news conference ahead of Saturday's DFB-Pokal tie at Rielasingen-Arlen the 20-year-old had skipped preparation without permission.
"Ousmane Dembele was not in training. We do not know why. We tried to reach him but were unable to," Bosz said.
"I talked to Dembele yesterday [Wednesday]. He told me he was in Paris with his friends. He did not say anything about a transfer."
He added: "There was no sign that Ousmane Dembele would not be here. We hope nothing terrible has happened."
Dembele joined Dortmund last year from Rennes for €15m and won rave reviews for his performances, scoring 10 times in 49 matches across all competitions.
He was named in the Bundesliga team of the season and scooped the man-of-the-match award after opening the scoring in Dortmund's 2-1 DFB-Pokal final triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Earlier this week, Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said a fee of €100m for the player was "in every case, not enough" and the Bundesliga side's asking price is reported to lie closer to €135m.
Dembele made his France debut last season and has won seven caps, scoring his maiden goal in a 5-0 friendly win over Paraguay.