Ousmane Dembele has revealed that he only ever wanted to join Borussia Dortmund despite strong rumours of interest from the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Liverpool.
The 19-year-old forward has dazzled in his breakthrough season in French football, scoring 12 goals and assisted five more for 8th placed Rennes.
A move away from Ligue Un seemed inevitable given the sudden interest in Dembele’s signature and Rennes’ dramatic drop in form towards the end of the campaign; a run of five defeats in their last six games saw Rolland Courbis’s side drop out of contention for a European place.
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However, many were surprised at Dembele’s decision to join Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund.
Even more surprising was the speed with which the transfer was wrapped up, as the Frenchman signed a five-year contract on May 12 for an undisclosed fee thought to be around €15 million.
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"I had a lot of offers, but I made it clear right from the start that I was only interested in joining Dortmund. I knew right away that I only wanted Dortmund," Dembele said.
"The way they showed an interest in me and gave me the feeling they really wanted me convinced me to join Dortmund.”
Dembele praised Dortmund’s history of developing young players and seemed confident that, under Tuchel’s guidance, he will develop to his full potential.
"I have had a lot of meetings with head coach Thomas Tuchel since Dortmund first got in touch in the winter. I am convinced he is the right coach to help me develop.
"Dortmund are the perfect club for young players, the past has shown that. I cannot wait to play my first game for Dortmund in front of the home fans."
It is refreshing to see a young footballer show such intelligence and maturity in his decision-making.
Whilst it is certainly possible that Bayern, Liverpool, and Juventus would have been similarly well-suited, it is encouraging that Dembele is thinking about his own development – rather than the amount of money he can earn.
Dedication to improving himself and choosing a club famous for development are signs that he is a thoughtful talent. Under the tutelage of Tuchel’s explosive attacking football, Dembele could be the man to finally topple Bayern Munich in the post-Guardiola years.
Was Dembele right to join Dortmund? Have your say in the comments.