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Transfer Rater: Courtois to Juventus

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Dortmund suspend AWOL Ousmane Dembele after rejecting Barcelona bid

Craig Burley explains why Ousmane Dembele is a perfect example of the power players possess when it comes to transfer requests.
Julien Laurens evaluates Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho as possible replacements for Neymar at Barcelona.
Shaka Hislop counters Aubameyang's statement about staying at Dortmund, saying he ended up 10th in queue for other clubs.

Borussia Dortmund have rejected Barcelona's opening offer for Ousmane Dembele after the two clubs held talks this week, the Bundesliga side have confirmed in a statement to the stock market.

Dembele, who was suspended by Dortmund on Thursday after failing to turn up for training in Dortmund, is one of the players that Barca are targeting following the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million last week.

Dortmund did not reveal the amount of Barca's bid and said that a move is "not currently likely." Multiple reports said Barcelona offered about €100m, but Dortmund are asking for around €130-150m for the France international.

"Borussia Dortmund have held talks with Catalan football club FC Barcelona regarding the possible transfer of BVB player Ousmane Dembele," the statement said.

"During this meeting, Barcelona's representatives submitted a bid which did not correspond with the player's extraordinary footballing abilities nor to the current economic situation in the European transfer market.

"Therefore, BVB decided to reject the offer. As there is no further offer from Barcelona to date, the transfer of the player to Barcelona is not currently likely."

Dembele, who is reportedly keen to make the switch to Camp Nou, missed Dortmund training on Thursday with BVB head coach Peter Bosz claiming he was not aware of the player's whereabouts.

The club then suspended Dembele for Saturday's DFB Pokal match with sixth-tier Rielasingen.

"Dembele has been suspended from training and matches until after the cup match on Saturday. His misconduct has been sanctioned," Dortmund said in a statement.

Ousmane Dembele was directly involved in 31 Dortmund goals in all competitions in his first season with the club.

Bosz told reporters earlier: "It's true, he wasn't there today and to be honest I don't know why. We tried to reach him, without any success. I hope that nothing bad has happened.

"I talked to him yesterday. He told me he was in Paris with his friends. He did not say anything about a transfer."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc later said Dembele had not left Dortmund.

"Ousmane Dembele was absent from training without permission and obviously made a conscious decision for it. It's taken for granted that we will sanction this wrongdoing," Zorc said.

"On top of that we in agreement with the coach have for now suspended the player, who despite contrary reports is still in Dortmund, from training and matches until after the cup match at the weekend." 

Dortmund signed Dembele from Rennes last summer in a deal worth €15m, fending off competition from Barcelona at the time with the promise of regular football to land the talented 20-year-old.

However, following Neymar's move to PSG, Barca have made Dembele one of their targets. They are also keen on Philippe Coutinho and have now had two bids rejected for the Liverpool player, with a source telling ESPN FC a second bid worth €100m was turned down by the Premier League side on Wednesday.

ESPN FC's Barcelona correspondent Sam Marsden contributed to this report.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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