Borussia Dortmund have extended Ousmane Dembele's suspension amid continued links to Barcelona.
As Tom Webber of Goal noted, the German giants have announced the winger will not feature for the club "until further notice." Per Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol, Dembele is set to train on his own as a result:
Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh
Dortmund have extended suspension of Ousmane Dembélé until further notice. Want him to train on his own. Mystery injury/illness on the way?2017-8-13 08:04:01
Per Webber, Barcelona have already seen a bid rejected for the talented winger, who has been eyed as a possible replacement for Neymar.
Dortmund director of football Michael Zorc recently said that the 20-year-old "missed training without notifying the club and has clearly taken this action consciously," per Ed Aarons of the Guardian.
Per Bleacher Report UK, it feels as though the deal is moving closer to completion:
B/R Football @brfootball
Soon? #Dembele https://t.co/VWsZiFhd362017-8-13 07:54:18
Dortmund are evidently disappointed with the way in which Dembele has conducted himself amid interest from the Camp Nou club.
Some would say with good reason, too. After all, they brought him to Westfalenstadion from Stade Rennais last summer and gave the winger a chance to showcase his skills at the highest level. Dembele obliged, with six goals and 12 assists in the Bundesliga in 2016-17.
But it appears as though the youngster has burned some bridges in an attempt to get his move. Writer Lars Pollmann struggles to see a way back for the forward:
Lars Pollmann @LarsPollmann
Dembele remains suspended and its very difficult to see a way back if Barca don't pony up the money.2017-8-13 07:48:20
It looks as though Barcelona will get their man, and plenty in Catalonia will be excited at what Dembele can add. Granted, he's not got the ability to fill Neymar's boots quite yet, but he's one of a select few players in football with the potential to do so.
With Dortmund clearly unhappy with the player and the start of the Bundesliga and La Liga seasons moving closer into view, it would be a surprise if there weren't significant developments on this deal before the end of the transfer window.
Paulinho Deal Done
According to Joaquim Piera of Sport, Barcelona have wrapped up a deal for Guangzhou Evergrande midfielder Paulinho.
Piera reported the Blaugrana will pay €40 million (£37 million) for the Brazil international, who will sign a four-year deal.
The transfer would be one of the most surprising of the summer, as Paulinho's career appeared to be on a downward curve not too long ago. In 2015, he was allowed to leave Tottenham Hotspur for the Chinese outfit having failed to adapt to the Premier League.
As noted by football journalist Colin Millar, the deal doesn't appear to make a lot of sense:
Colin Millar @Millar_Colin
Barcelona, who have no regular starting midfielder or attacker aged under 29, spending €40m on 29-year-old Paulinho.2017-8-12 13:40:25
Those who frequent the Camp Nou likely won't be too excited about the prospect of Paulinho's arrivial.
After all, the 29-year-old is not the kind of player you would associate with the club's ethos of quick passing, neat dribbling and smart movement. Paulinho is a power player who wins tackles, drives forward and looks to get into the box to score goals.
While that bit of bullishness may be needed in a Barca midfield that was timid at times in 2016-17, you sense the Blaugrana could find a younger, cheaper and more effective alternative option than Paulinho.