Berlin: Borussia Dortmund signed France's young player of the year Ousmane Dembele from Rennes on Thursday, the German club fighting off strong English Premier League interest in the teenage forward. Dortmund called the 18-year-old "one of Europe's most sought after talents" in a statement announcing the transfer on a five-year contract.
The Bundesliga side did not give a figure for the deal, but German media said the fee was in the region of 15 million euros (Â£11.8m, $17.1m). British media had earlier reported that Liverpool were ready to offer Â£28 million for the France under-21 international, who was voted Ligue 1's young player of the year last weekend.
Dembele, born in Normandy, has been a revelation for Rennes this season, scoring 12 goals and and five assists since making his debut in November. "Ousmane can play nearly every position in attack," Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc told the club's website. "He is strong one-on-one, he can play with both feet, he is good at nutmegging and dribbling, and he is fast and dangerous in front of goal."
Dortmund have been tracking the young talent for a long time. "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," said Dembele, who came close to leaving Rennes last summer before making a single top-team appearance. "I can hardly wait to play in the Bundesliga in front of more than 80 000 spectators in the Signal Iduna Park and to walk onto the pitch in the Champions League with my new team-mates," he added. News of his signing emerged 48 hours after Bayern Munich prised away Dortmund's captain, Germany centre-back Mats Hummels.