Borussia Dortmund have announced the signing of Ousmane Dembele from Stade Rennes.
The German club have beaten Liverpool to the signing of the 18-year-old, who joins on a five-year deal.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Jurgen Klopp had held discussions with the French sensation but he’s opted for Dortmund instead.
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Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri also wanted to sign the forward but Dembele rejected the Italian on the phone.
Dortmund have signed an excited young prospect who last week was voted Ligue 1’s young player of the year.
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It’s great news for the Bundesliga runners-up, who earlier in the week announced the departure of Mats Hummels to rivals Bayern Munich.
Dembele has agreed a contract at the Westfalenstadion until 2021 and arrives with a heap of expectation.
In a statement on the club’s website, Michael Zorc, Dortmund’s Sporting Director, raved: “Ousmane can play nearly every position in attack. He is strong one-on-one, he can play with both feet, he is good at nutmegging and dribbling, and he is fast and dangerous in front of goal.
“I have nothing but respect when I see how many high profile offers from all over Europe Ousmane has turned back and how he has stood firm about his commitment to BVB over such a long period of time."
CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke added: “It is not always obvious that someone will act this way and it shows real character. He has always given us the impression that he does not wish for anything else other than to play our intensive football for our special club in our unique stadium.”
Dembele is ready for the challenge
Dortmund claim to have watched the teenager for several years and, as his reputation has grown, have decided that now is the time to pounce.
He has scored 12 goals this season, his first as a professional. He’s also represented his country at under-17, under-18, under-19 and under-21 level.
Dortmund is a big step up from Rennes, who are currently seventh in Ligue 1, but Dembele is relishing the challenge.
“BVB showed a lot of interest in me right from an early stage and they have always kept close contact with me – this really impressed me,” the youngster said. “I am totally convinced of the Borussia sporting concept.
“I can hardly wait to play in the Bundesliga in front of more than 80,000 spectators in the Signal Iduna Park and to walk onto the pitch in the Champions League with my new team mates."