Borussia Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke on Sunday accused Barcelona of manipulating Ousmane Dembele in a bid to force the German club to sell the want-away winger to the Spanish giants.
Dortmund suspended Dembele indefinitely a week ago when the 20-year-old boycotted training after the German club rejected an initial bid from Barcelona.
Watzke has accused the Spanish giants of influencing the France international to force Borussia’s hand.
Barcelona want to sign Dembele and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho to replace Neymar, who left for Paris Saint-Germain, but Dembele has a contract until 2021 with Dortmund.
Reports claim the Germans want 130 million euros ($152m) for the player they paid Rennes 15m euros for last year.
Dortmund have made it clear they will only sell Dembele if their price is met and Watzke is less than impressed with the role Barcelona are playing in the transfer saga.
“You have to talk about the role of the ‘glorious’ club Barcelona,” Watzke told Sky.
“We met with their representatives, which commanded the respect, which I still had back then a few weeks ago, of such a big and serious club.
“In doing so, we found out that our ideas (over the price) are very far apart and therefore such a big gap could not be crossed.
“Then completely out of the blue, he didn’t come to training.
“Do you honestly believe that a 20-year-old, without the benvolence of a new club, says ‘I’m not coming to training’.
“Ousmane wouldn’t have done that for any other club in the world – we know that now.”
Watzke says the chance of Dembele leaving is less than ’50 percent’ and if he stays, the winger will have to apologise to the Dortmund squad, some of whom have been highly critical of the Frenchman.
Dembele has already packed up his house in Dortmund and moved back to France.
“Ousmane isn’t dancing around us, he is simply refusing to work,” said the 58-year-old Watzke.
“That is obviously something new, he has gone on strike and has been suspended. “There are now two possibilities.
“Either Barcelona pay the sum we have imagined and, if they meet our demands promptly, the transfer will go ahead.
“We will not negotiate. “And if they don’t pay, then he will be back as of September 1st and I am sure he will really want to play then.
“However, if that happens, he will really have to apologise to the club and the team. “The fact the team is distancing itself from his behaviour is normal.
“Ousmane is actually a nice bloke and what he is doing is, of course, not on, but I also did a lot of shit when I was 20 and if all that butter was smeared on bread today, it would make a fat sandwich.”
Dembele sat out Dortmund’s 3-0 thumping of Wolfsburg on Saturday when US international Christian Pulisic, 18, took his place on the right wing and promptly scored and set up a goal in an impressive display.
Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit believes current boss Antonio Conte was unwise to text striker Diego Costa to tell him he is no longer needed at Stamford Bridge.
Costa top-scored for the Blues with 20 Premier League goals last season as they convincingly won the title in Conte’s first year in charge.
But the relationship between the pair has soured, culminating in a message from the Italian boss saying the Brazilian-born Spain international has no future with the London club.
Gullit, who famously fell out with Alan Shearer while in charge at Newcastle, was critical of Conte and believes he has brought pressure on himself.
“It’s all been instigated about what happened with Diego Costa,” Gullit told BBC Five Live.
“It’s a little bit strange that you hear at the end of the season that you’re not welcome, and now he’s training somewhere in Brazil and that’s not good for Costa, not good for the club, not good for anyone.
“(It was) not very wise to do. You don’t do that. I think it is a mistake by Conte and I hope that he has learnt from it.
“He still has the possibility to do something about it, just got to him and say, ‘I’m sorry that I did it, you have to come back, we will talk’.
“You need to see each other face to face. You don’t need to like each other, but you need to respect each other. If he doesn’t want to come back then you have to find the best solution for the club.”
Gullit, who was in charge of Chelsea between 1996 and 1998, has also backed proposals to close the transfer window before the beginning of the season.
“The thing that irritates me the most is that we all talk about transfers until the 1st of September,” he added. “Do that before the season starts. I think it has to stop that you can still do transfers when you have already started with your competitions.
“It is a bad thing at the moment because we talk only about transfers.”
The race for the most sought after teenager in world football appears to be reaching the finish line as Paris Saint-Germain have reached an agreement with AS Monaco for Kylian Mbappe.
The 18-year-old is set to move to the Parisian outfit in a transfer expected to be worth €180 million and will be presented to PSG fans next week, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
The announcement of the Frenchman’s arrival is imminent, it is believed.
Mbappe will link-up with Neymar who completed his a world record €220 million transfer from Barcelona earlier this month.
The Brazilian has already set the bar for the young French international after registering a goal and assist on his debut last week.
Mbappe’s relationship with Monaco has been strained in recent weeks with the player excluded from preparations and the Matchday squad for their opening fixture of the new Ligue 1 campaign.
Meanwhile, PSG will be under pressure to sell players in order to remain within the parameters of Financial Fair Play regulations.
Blaise Matuidi has already been sold to Juventus while Julian Draxler has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Angel Di Maria has emerged as a surprising new target for Barcelona.