Barcelona have received a major blow to their hopes of securing Rennes starlet Ousmane Dembele, after beIN Sport France revealed the 18-year-old forward will join Bayern Munich instead. The French TV station claimed the Bundesliga giants already have an agreement in place with the Ligue 1 side to secure the coveted teenager's services, although he will remain at his current club on a loan basis until the summer of 2017.
Dembele has been heavily linked with a Nou Camp move in recent weeks after Barcelona scouts travelled to watch the teenager in action during Rennes' game with Nantes. Dembele scored a hat-trick as his side romped to a 4-1 victory.
Spanish newspaper Sport reported at the time Barcelona had identified the youngster as their top priority for the summer transfer window, with the aim of bolstering Luis Enrique's attack. The La Liga leaders were expected to renew their efforts to sign Celta Vigo forward Nolito, but apparently turned their attention to Dembele for reasons of age, as the Spaniard is already 29.
Dembele's agent, Badou Sambague, did little to calm rumours when he admitted his player would struggle to turn down a move to Barcelona. However, the representative confirmed a number of Premier League clubs were also interested.
"There is absolutely nothing [concrete], but if Barcelona call you, you cannot say no," Sambague admitted to Mundo Deportivo. "We know there were scouts not only from Barcelona, but also some from several English clubs, as [Rennes] explained to me."
France Football added more fuel to the fire when they claimed Barcelona's opening offer of €35m (£27.3m, $39.3m) had been turned down by Rennes, with the Catalan outfit expecting stiff competition from both Manchester City and Bayern Munich for the player's signature.
Now beIN Sport reports that the Germans have won the race, agreeing terms with Rennes to sign Dembele. Stories suggest the forward will remain at Ligue 1 for one more season before moving to the Bundesliga in the summer of 2017.
The deal, according to the French TV network, could also mean the return of Kingsley Coman to Juventus. The French starlet is impressing on loan at Bayern this season but Pep Guardiola's side need to pay a lucrative fee to the Serie A giants to secure his services on a permanent basis.