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Dortmund still control whether Ousmane Dembele stays or goes

Dortmund still control whether Ousmane Dembele stays or goes
From ESPN - August 11, 2017

"I have nothing but respect when I see how many high profile offers from all over Europe Ousmane Dembele has turned back and how he has stood firm about his commitment to BVB over such a long period of time." Hans-Joachim Watzke, CEO of Borussia Dortmund,noted on the club's official websiteas Dembele was unveiled by the Black and Yellows in May 2016, adding: "it is not always obvious that someone will act this way and it shows real character."

Ask Watzke again in August 2017 about the 20-year-old's character, and the answer might be a little bit different. The Frenchman has been fined and suspended from training and matches until Monday by the club after going on strike. The French winger missed training this week without a leave of absence while having his phone switched to airplane-mode -- apparently, in an attempt to force his way to Barcelona.

On Thursday, events followed swiftly on one another. First, Dortmund coach Peter Bosz confirmed reports at his news conference ahead of Saturday's first round cup match against sixth-tier side FC Rielasingen-Arlen that Dembele indeed skipped training, saying: "It's true, he was not there today and to be honest I do not know why. We tried to reach him, without any success. I hope that nothing bad has happened.

"I talked to him yesterday. He told me he was in Paris with his friends. He did not say anything about a transfer."

Less than two hours later, BVB disclosed -- as they are obliged to as a stock company -- that they turned down Barcelona's first offer, rendering a transfer is "currently not likely" in the ad-hoc statement.

Another 60 minutes passed until sporting director Michael Zorc released a statement via the club's official website that Dembele's action would have consequences.

"Ousmane Dembele missed BVB training today without any valid reason and he obviously consciously made the decision to do this. Of course, we will sanction this behaviour." He added: "In addition, we have suspended the player from training and from taking part in any match day activities after discussing this with the head coach until after the cup match this coming weekend. The player is currently present in Dortmund unlike other reports that state the contrary."

Although it is one of the uglier sides of modern football, it is not exactly new that players go on strike in order to force a transfer. It was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who stayed away from Shakhtar Donetsk's training ground in 2013 in an ultimately successful attempt to join Dortmund. Neymar showed similar antics that are far removed from professional behaviour in the episode that saw him join PSG for a record fee in the end.

Though this time, the power of a player might be tested as the Black and Yellows have to firmly stand their ground in the negotiation with the Catalans. Watzkedescribed the situationfor BVB in this negotiation quite well ahead of the DFL-Supercup last weekend.

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