Watzke sets deadline for Barca's Dembele deal

A senior figure at Borussia Dortmund says any deal to take Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona must happen in the next two weeks.

The 20-year-old Dembele has been linked to Barcelona and is indefinitely excluded from selection contention after missing a training session without permission.   -  Bongarts

Barcelona has two weeks to finalise a move for Ousmane Dembele, Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans Joachim Watzke has indicated.

The identity of Barca's replacement for Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222million earlier this month, is yet to be determined, with Dembele and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho believed to be the Catalan giant's preferred targets.

Dortmund told the German stock exchange last week that it had rejected a €100m bid from Barca for Dembele, who only moved to Signal Iduna Park from Rennes in July 2016.

The 20-year-old French forward has been indefinitely excluded from selection contention after missing a training session without permission.

Liverpool's owners, meanwhile, released a statement on Friday insisting they will not consider any offers for Coutinho, an announcement that was swiftly followed by reports the Brazil international had submitted a transfer request.

It remains to be seen if Ernesto Valverde's Liga powerhouse will succeed in securing the services of either player before the transfer window shuts on August 31.

Watzke, though, may have sought to force Barca's hand with his latest remarks regarding Dembele. 

"The time horizon is enough for two games," he said, when asked for an update on the situation. 

Dortmund is away to Wolfsburg in its opening game of the new Bundesliga season on Saturday, followed by a home match against Hertha Berlin a week later.