Ousmane Dembélé has revealed he turned down summer moves to Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain before agreeing to join Barcelona.
The 20-year-old, who was playing for Rennes at the time, spoke to ?Onze Mondial and admitted he had met with PSG before his move to Dortmund in 2016, and that clubs including Liverpool were interested in sealing his signature.
Dembele said: “I spoke to three clubs: Dortmund, Liverpool and Barcelona. I had had a meeting with Barcelona. I had told them: ‘For next season it’s not possible, but the next time you contact me, I’ll come,’ and that is what happened.”
Dembélé eventually joined Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and, when Barcelona came back a year later, he joined the Catalan club for a fee of €105m – despite meeting with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“I met Nasser,” he said. “We had set up a meeting. It went really well. He’s a great president. What struck me about him is that he is very humble, he’s calm – I had never seen that. Honestly, he’s a good guy.”
Dembélé also defended his decision to go on strike ahead of his transfer as he tried to force a switch to the Nou Camp after Dortmund initially refused the move.
“I had the impression I was missing out on my dream,” he said. “I had the reaction that I had, I totally accept that. What did you want me to do? That I say ‘no’ to Barcelona a second time? That was impossible for me.”
Dembélé has found his time at Barcelona plagued by injuries and has been limited to just seven first-team appearances this season.