Dembele: I saw Klopp in Paris, but I’d already decided to join Dortmund

Ousmane Dembele has told FourFourTwo that he had decided to sign for Borussia Dortmund before Jurgen Klopp’s last-gasp attempt to lure him to Liverpool.

The Reds, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Premier League champions Leicester, were all thought to be tracking the French forward last year after he had scored 12 goals in 26 Ligue 1 games for Rennes.

But the 19-year-old eventually signed a five-year deal with Dortmund, joining a host of the game’s leading youngsters at the Westfalenstadion including Raphael Guerreiro, Alexander Isak, Christian Pulisic, Julian Weigl and Jacob Bruun Larsen.

Speaking exclusively in the April 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Dembele says: “I saw Klopp in Paris but I told him I'd made up my mind to sign for BVB.”

Portraits: Vanessa Leissring

Former Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri was also snubbed by the flying France international, who made his senior debut against Italy in Bari last September.

Although the Italian’s lack of French was reportedly one of the factors in Dembele’s decision-making, the youngster insists language was not an issue with the man who'd led Monaco to the Ligue 2 title in 2012/13 and second place in Ligue 1.

“No, Ranieri speaks French from when he coached Monaco,” Dembele clarifies. “I made the decision a long time ago, so going to Leicester was out of the question.”

Read the full interview with Ousmane Dembele in the April 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. Featuring some of the best young players in the world, we also chat to his Dortmund team-mates Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro, Christian Pulisic and Alexander Isak, and meet up with Dele Alli to talk fame, his unlimited potential and his pooch Hugo. Plus, we sing Happy Birthday to Bayern Munich whiz kid Joshua Kimmich, speak to Ademola Lookman about making the jump from League One Charlton to Premier League Everton, profile 18-year-old Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and wonder whether Ravel Morrison will ever fulfil his potential. Elsewhere, Newcastle Enfield entertain Sunderland RCA in the ‘other Tyne-Wear derby’, Colchester keeper Dean Brill reveals the unglamorous reality of a deadline-day transfer and we go One-on-One with Damien Duff. Order it now, then subscribe!