Borussia Dortmund have rejected an initial offer from Barcelona for 20-year-old winger Ousmane Dembele, the Bundesliga club said on Thursday.
Dortmund said a move to the Camp Nou was “not very likely” after they turned down an offer that did not reflect Dembele’s “extraordinary” value or the current state of the transfer market.
“As there is no other offer on the table, a transfer by the player to FC Barcelona is not at this time expected nor currently very likely,” said a club statement.
The announcement came after Dembele skipped a Dortmund training session on Thursday, sending the rumour mill into overdrive.
German tabloid Bild has reported that Dortmund want an eye-watering €150 million euros for their rising star, a price Barca appear unwilling to pay.
Dembele, who has made no secret of his desire to play for Barcelona, may have been trying to break the deadlock with his no-show, Bild suggested.
“Dembele really wants to go to Barcelona, but yesterday he had to swallow the fact that the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee,” it wrote.
Barca are scrambling to find a replacement for Brazilian sensation Neymar, who last week left for Paris-Saint Germain for a record-breaking transfer fee of €222 million.
The Catalan giants have also approached Liverpool about signing Philippe Coutinho, though there too has been no sign of a deal.
The Spanish club are reported to have increased their bid for Coutinho to £90 million (€100m) this week after two previous offers were rejected by the Premier League side.
But Liverpool manager Klopp remains adamant the 25-year-old will stay at Anfield no matter what Barca are prepared to pay.
“We want to have the best possible team. This means keeping the guys we have,” Klopp told Sky in Germany on Thursday.
“Liverpool is not a club that needs to sell. That is set in stone. So what they pay in the end doesn’t matter.”