Barcelona's summer signing Ousmane Dembele has revealed that he had to stop training in order to force through a move from Borussia Dortmund to the Camp Nou.
The France international left Signal Iduna Park for the Catalan club, a year after joining them from Rennes. He missed the pre-season training and the Bundesliga club suspended and fined the forward.
Dembele completed his switch to Barcelona for a reported initial fee of around €105m, which could rise up to €145m with add-ons. He will wear the number 11 shirt for the Spanish giants and revealed that he looked for an excuse not to skip Dortmund training sessions during his final days at the club.
"I was relaxed. It was a question of negotiation between Barça and Borussia. I knew I had to have patience. I decided to stop going training," Dembele told Spanish publication Sport.
"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 Barça, now I would be lamenting the fact I wasn't here."
It is not the first time that Barcelona were interested in signing the talented forward. Even before his move to Dortmund, Dembele was attracting interest from the top clubs across Europe while he was at Rennes.
The Frenchman reveals that the fear of not securing a place in the starting lineup and also having the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to lead their attack last season convinced him to join Dortmund.
When asked why he did not join Barcelona last summer, he said: "Because I'd been a professional at Rennes for just six months. Can you imagine? Just six months!"
"Of course [It was 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."
In the 2017/18 season, he is likely to form a partnership with Suarez and Messi after Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germian. The Brazil international joined the Ligue 1 giants for a world-record fee of €222m earlier in the summer transfer window.