‘I Wanted To Play Regularly’ – Dembele Explains Why He Delayed Barca Move

New that he turned down the chance to move to Camp Nou in 2016 as he did not feel he was ready for the Spanish giants.

Dembele became the highest-profile transfer of the summer window for the Blaugrana in August as he completed a deal worth €105 million from Borussia Dortmund.

The move came after just one season in the Bundesliga, but Dembele in fact had the chance to join Barca in 2016 as he was making a name for himself at Rennes.

The Catalans certainly would have shelled out less if the transfer had come 12 months ago, but the young France international is convinced he made the right decision.

“I’d been a professional at Rennes for just six months. Can you imagine? Just six months!” he told Sport when probed on why he rejected Barca’s advances.

“Of course [it was too soon]. I wanted to learn, play Champions League games, know what that competition was, to play a whole season with a big team, playing regularly, developing…

“I would have learned a lot in training but it would have halted my progression. Luckily Barcelona have come back for a second time and this time I could not let the train pass.”

Dembele came in for criticism during his final days at Dortmund for skipping training sessions as he tried to force a move.

But the 20-year-old sees that decision as a part of the negotiations between the two clubs and has no regrets.

“I was relaxed. It was a question of negotiation between Barca and Borussia. I knew I had to have patience,” he said.

“I decided to stop going training. I didn’t want to go. I looked for an excuse not to go. If it didn’t work out and I hadn’t done my part to get the move to Barca, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn’t here.”

The youngster impressed in his first and only season with Dortmund, netting 10 times in 49 appearances to help BVB seal Champions League football and the DFB Pokal title.

He was also rewarded individually with a place in the Bundesliga Team of the Season, as well as the Rookie of the Season award.

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