It is not just Liverpool playing hardball with Barcelona!
Over the past decade, the football world have marvelled at Barcelona and some of their extraordinary football.
These days, Barcelona are looking somewhat forlorn and in desperate need of some positive news after losing Neymar.
Once upon a time, even major European clubs like Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool were powerless when Barcelona came calling for their best players.
This summer, Dortmund and Liverpool are playing hardball over Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, respectively.
“Two weeks ago, I considered Barça a great and respectable club…”
Barcelona’s attempts to sign Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund have been in the news ever since Neymar left for PSG.
Even more so than Phil Coutinho, Dembele looks like a natural replacement for Neymar.
On Sunday, Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke appeared on Sky Germany (via Bild), and there are no two ways about it, he absolutely savaged Barcelona’s handling of the Dembele transfer saga.
Borussia Dortmund won their opening fixture of the new Bundesliga season on Saturday, seeing off Wolfsburg 3-0. Dembele was not in the Dortmund matchday squad.
Can Ousmane Dembele play for Borussia Dortmund again?
Watzke was asked whether Ousmane Dembele could ever play for Borussia Dortmund again.
The Dortmund CEO replied: “The player has to make clear before the club and the team a mea culpa. The fact that the team is currently distancing itself from his behaviour is normal. Ousmane is actually a nice guy, but what he did, of course, can not be done.”
Watke continued: “There are only two options. Either Barcelona pay the sum we ask for. If they meet our demand promptly, then the transfer will be. We are not negotiable. Or if they do not pay, then he will remain here. I’m sure he’ll be happy to play again.”
Watzke lays into Barcelona
Whilst the Liverpool board have remained silent throughout their whole Coutinho saga, Watzke comes out and attacks Barcelona in a vociferous manner.
Watzke added in his Sky Germany interview: “You have to talk about the role of the glorious club FC Barcelona. On Thursday, we had a meeting with Barça. On Friday, Dembele went AWOL from training. You can guess what happened.”
Then comes an absolute zinger of a line: “Two weeks ago, I considered Barça a great and respectable club. Today, I have to say I’m no longer sure about that.”
When pushed on the percentage likelihood of Dembele leaving for Barcelona, Watzke said: “I see the transfer probability of Ousmane Dembele under 50 percent.”
The final 11 days of the summer transfer window look likely to be hectic, especially for Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona and Ousmane Dembele.