Tottenham Hotspur will do battle with Barcelona and Bayern Munich for the services of Ligue 1 sensation Ousmane Dembele, according to France Football. The French publication recently reported the Catalan outfit had an opening offer of €35m (£28m, $39.8m) turned down by Rennes, and they now add Spurs have joined the race – and have already held talks over his signing.
The 18-year-old forward has been heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp since Barcelona scouts were spotted watching him in action during a game against Nantes, with Dembele scoring a hat-trick as his side romped to a 4-1 victory. Reports in Spain have since claimed manager Luis Enrique has earmarked the player's arrival as a priority for the upcoming mercato as the Spanish manager is desperate for a versatile forward to serve as back-up to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Dembele's agent, Badou Sambague, confirmed that news to Mundo Deportivo, and added that Dembele would struggle to turn down a move to Barcelona – although he also mentioned a number of Premier League clubs were monitoring the situation.
"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 to the saga by claiming Barcelona had their €35m offer turned down, as Rennes sources claimed the club was holding out for a major summer auction for their hot prospect.
Mundo Deportivo claimed earlier this week the youngster was still top of Barcelona's shopping list, on the back of a meteoric rise that has seen him score 12 goals in just 21 Ligue 1 appearances since his full debut last November.
But France Football now reports that the Catalans and Bayern Munich, who have also been linked with Dembele's services, face stiff competition from Tottenham. The prestigious publication claims that Spurs have taken a crucial step towards a potential move after club officials met with the player's entourage in London last week.