Borussia Dortmund have put an end to the long-running Ousmane Dembele transfer saga, announcing a deal to sign the much-coveted Rennes starlet. Barcelona, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Leicester City have all been linked with the 18-year-old forward in recent times, but the Bundesliga outfit have beaten all of them to complete the deal.
Dembele was pegged as one of hottest properties of this summer's transfer window, garnering a reputation as the next big thing in French football, following the recent breakthroughs of current Manchester United star Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba and Antonie Griezmann.
The French youngster only made his Rennes debut in November last year, and has scored 12 goals in 25 appearances to date.
Reports in Spain, both in Sport and Mundo Deportivo, reported in March that Barcelona had a keen eye on the player, with the club sending scouts to watch a clash between Rennes and Nantes. Dembele scored a first-half hat-trick in that game, leading his side to a 4-1 victory.
The same publication last month claimed Tottenham had joined the race to secure the player's services, adding that Spurs officials had met the player's entourage in London to discuss a move to White Hart Lane.
Dembele himself revealed this week that he had rejected a move to Premier League champs Leicester City, as he had already decided on his next club.
"I had Claudio Ranieri on the phone," Dembele said, according to Ouest-France. "I was surprised to hear from him, I told him that I will not go to Leicester. I know where I am going."
The Guardian then reported Liverpool could have been the lucky ones, after signals they had signed the player in a deal worth £28m.
However, Dortmund have ended the speculation with confirmation that player is Bundesliga-bound.
"Rennes and BVB have today agreed all the terms and conditions for the transfer. All parties have agreed to remain silent and keep all information confidential," the club confirmed in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dembele expressed his delight over the agreement, adding: "BVB showed a lot of interest in me right from an early stage and they have always kept close contact with me – this really impressed me."
"I am totally convinced of the Borussia sporting concept. I can hardly wait to play in the Bundesliga in front of more than 80,000 spectators at the Signal Iduna Park and to walk onto the pitch in the Champions League with my new team mates."
The deal comes just days after the Bundesliga side announced the sale of Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich, who have also signed Renato Sanches from Benfica.