Dortmund's Dembele remains suspended over missed training

Reuters
Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele remains suspended "until further notice" for skipping training, as rumors continue to swirl over the forward's possible move to Barcelona.
Reuters
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Ousmane Dembele reacts during a Borussia Dortmund team photo session in Dortmund, Germany, on August 9, 2017.

Borussia Dortmund has extended the suspension of talented forward Ousmane Dembele indefinitely after the 20-year-old France international skipped training last week amid speculation of a possible move to Barcelona.

The Bundesliga club said on Sunday it would keep Dembele's ban for missing training in place after the player was told he was initially suspended until after Saturday's German Cup first-round tie against amateurs Rielasingen-Arlen.

"Our focus now is to have a concentrated preparation for the start of the Bundesliga (next week)," Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said in a statement.

"Obviously Ousmane Dembele has the opportunity to do individual training separate from the team."

Dembele is seen as a potential successor to Neymar at Barcelona, after the Brazilian's record 222-million euro (US$262.32 million) move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month.

An initial Barcelona offer was rejected by Dortmund with club bosses saying it was too low.

German media have estimated the price of a move at more than 100 million euros.

Dembele joined Dortmund, which will compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage, from French side Rennes on a five-year deal in 2016.

Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said on Saturday that he has no control over whether Philippe Coutinho will stay at the club or move to Barcelona.

Coutinho emailed a transfer request to the club on Friday after Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, issued a strongly worded statement saying the midfielder would not be sold in the transfer window.

Barcelona has had two bids rejected by Liverpool for Coutinho, who is keen to move to Spain, according to British media reports.

Coutinho missed Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Watford on Saturday.

Asked about the Brazilian's situation, Klopp said: "As a manager of a football club, I have bosses that decide, for example, just in general, if we sell a player or we don't sell him. Then I have to accept it.

"If they don't sell him, then I am not involved any more. I'm responsible for all of our players, not just one or two or three, but all of them.

"I can't say anything about it, the only thing is I work with the players I have. That's what I'm always doing."

The German said he did not think Coutinho's transfer request changes his situation.

"I don't think (it changes anything). It was pretty clear what the club said about it. That's all," he said.

"You have to ask the club. I don't make the decision. I didn't see the club insiders today. You have to ask them."

Asked if Coutinho had let down his teammates with his request, Klopp said: "I am not part of the discussion with the group."

Klopp has already said that Coutinho will not be fit for Liverpool's UCL qualifier in Hoffenheim on Tuesday.


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