Rennes youngster Ousmane Dembélé has rejected the chance to join Premier League winners Leicester City. The 18-year-old Frenchman has emerged as one of the most sought-after young forwards in world football this season, but Dembélé has insisted he does not wish to move to the King Power Stadium.
Dembélé has enjoyed a breakthrough season in Ligue 1, and is reportedly attracting interest from a host of the continent's top clubs, including Bayern Munich and Barcelona, with a potential fee of €35m (£28m, $39.8m) having been mentioned. But despite the best efforts of Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri, Dembélé will not be joining the Premier League table-toppers.
"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."
The youngster also admitted he knows the identity of his next club, although he refused to reveal which club it is. "I know where I am going," he added, amid speculation linking him with Bayern and Barcelona.
Dembélé's first season in France's top flight has already yielded 12 goals and five assists, prompting speculation he will be on the move in the summer. And Mikael Silvestre - who acts as an adviser to Rennes - has previously compared Dembélé to his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
"I'm going to be blunt, one day Ousmane Dembele will feature in the Ballon d'Or shortlist," Silvestre said in response to speculation linking Dembele to Barcelona. "I saw Cristiano Ronaldo when he arrived at Manchester United at the same age. Ousmane shows similar attributes."