Barcelona brings in Dembele to try to replace Neymar
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 26, 2017 08:47 AM
FILE - In this March 11, 2017 file photo Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele plays the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and Borussia Dortmund in Berlin, Germany. France forward Ousmane Dembele remains suspended from team training "until further notice" as he agitates for a move to Barcelona. Dembele has reportedly refused all contact with the club since Barcelona made a bid reported to be worth 105 million euros ($124 million) including add-ons. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Barcelona is shoring up its attack following Neymar's departure by buying Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in a deal that could reach 147 million euros (about $173 million), second only to the Brazilian star's world-record transfer.
Barcelona said on Friday the 20-year-old Dembele will be officially introduced after undergoing a physical and signing his contract on Monday.
"Visca Barca, Visca Catalunya! (Long Live Barca, Long Live Catalonia!)," Dembele posted on Twitter.
The Spanish club will pay 105 million euros ($124 million) plus possible add-ons in "contingent payments" that could reach about 40 percent of the fixed transfer fee, Dortmund said in a statement, without elaborating.
Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain for more than 220 million euros ($260 million) just before the start of the season. That amount was the buyout clause on his contract.
Barcelona said Dembele's contract will have a buyout clause of 400 million euros ($472 million).
The talented youngster, touted as one of France's most promising players along with 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe of Monaco, will wear Neymar's former No. 11 shirt.
"Dembele is a player who is very quick and technical," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "He can play on both sides of the field and he gives us depth, which is something that we need."
Dortmund reportedly turned down Barcelona's opening bid of 85 million euros ($100 million) to acquire the player who played in attack for France against England in June in a friendly.
Dembele was fined and suspended by Dortmund after skipping training without permission. He reportedly refused all contact with the club after Barcelona made him the initial offer.
Dembele moved to Dortmund from Rennes last year in a transfer worth 15 million euros (about $16.7 at the time).
He scored six goals and set up 13 others in 32 Bundesliga games last season. His contract with Dortmund was valid until 2021.
Manchester United paid 105 million euros (then $116 million) to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in what was a record transfer last year, but there was no mention of add-ons on that deal.