£79m assist-king jets to Manchester for transfer talks
Borussia Dortmund forward Ousmane Dembele has reportedly been in Manchester to meet with key figures at Manchester City and even a one-on-one with manager Pep Guardiola.
The 20-year-old has been strongly linked with a move away from Dortmund this summer, despite his club’s own insistence that they don’t want to sell him after just one season.
Dembele joined from Rennes last summer and is now valued at around £79million after a superb debut campaign in the Bundesliga, with Manchester United and Barcelona among his admirers.
City now seem to have joined the chase, with Le10Sport claiming the France international is in Manchester at the moment for unofficial talks with the club that could anger his current employers.
It has not been confirmed if Dembele is meeting with City with Dortmund’s permission, but the club’s sporting director Michael Zorc recently insisted they would be ready to take action if any negotiations took place.
‘Ousmane Dembelé has a long-term contract and there are no negotiations,’ Zorc said.
‘He will play for us next season and if (rival clubs) do not contact Dortmund, we could initiate proceedings with FIFA.’
It remains to be seen how concrete City’s approach for Dembele is, with reports suggesting talks are at an early stage as club chiefs give the youngster an idea of the overall project and vision of the club.
It is claimed that Dembele has also been due to dine with manager Guardiola, suggesting there is strong interest in luring him to the Etihad Stadium at some point in the future, even if this summer is not possible.
This could be similar to a rumoured plan by rival suitors Barcelona, with reports last week that the Catalan giants had given up on landing Dembele this summer but want to secure a deal to bring him in for the start of the 2018/19 season.