Borussia Dortmund confirm Barcelona close to Ousmane Dembele deal
Barcelona are closing in on a club-record deal for Ousmane Dembele but Borussia Dortmund say an agreement has not yet been reached.
Dembele is one of the players Barca turned to, along with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, following Neymar's €222 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.
Diario Sport reports that Barca will pay a fixed fee of €105m for Dembele with an additional €40m potentially due in add-ons, but the German club's CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said on Friday that talks are still ongoing.
"I can only tell you that we are on the way [to reaching an agreement], but we've not reached the end yet," Watzke told a news conference on Friday.
German magazine kicker reported on Friday that Barca's board of directors now simply need to green light the transfer.
It is in Dortmund's interests to reach an agreement as quickly as possible -- or not at all -- as they will be left with very little time to find a replacement for the 20-year-old, and they have previously said they would inform Barca of their deadline to conclude the deal.
"Should Ousmane Dembele be transferred, it would weaken us on the pitch," Watzke added. "We might go into the market again but it's a fact that there's no like-for-like replacement for Ousmane."
Barca failed with their first bid for Dembele, reported to be around €100m, which led the France international to go AWOL from training.
Dortmund subsequently confirmed they had rejected a bid from the Catalan club and suspended Dembele for his actions.
Since then, various representatives from the Bundesliga side have reiterated on several occasions that they are prepared to sell Dembele but only if Barca match their demands.
The two clubs were both present at Thursday's Champions League draw in Monaco, which is where they took steps toward completing an agreement.
Following that draw, the Catalan press began to report that Dembele would arrive in the city on Sunday and be officially presented as a Barcelona player on Monday.
Meanwhile, Dortmund posted revenues of €405.7m for the 2016-17 season, up 7.82 percent from the previous year.
Without the transfers of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Matthias Ginter, Adrian Ramos, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Patrick Stenzel, the group revenues added up to a new club record of €328.4m.
The total profit amounted to €8.2m, down from €29.4m the previous season.
Personnel expenses increased from €140.2m to €177.9m, with about €128m to €130m of that going into the first-team squad, Watzke told the news conference.
"It's clear that we are now aiming for the €500m mark," he added, stressing that he believed football would continue to grow.
"It's a fact that, unlike five or 10 years ago, two new players have entered the market -- China and also the United States where there is a strong economic foundation," he said.
"Those two drivers will make sure football will continue to grow."
ESPN FC's Germany correspondent, Stephan Uersfeld, contributed to this report.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.