Ousmane Dembele has been suspended by Borussia Dortmund after skipping training, with the Bundesliga club having turned down an offer from Barcelona for the winger earlier on Thursday.
Dembele is being targeted as a replacement for Neymar, who left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain last week in a record-shattering €222million deal.
And the 20-year-old was absent from training without permission on Thursday, with Dortmund head coach Peter Bosz telling a news conference the club had been unable to contact Dembele.
Speculation that a move to Barcelona was imminent soon mounted before BVB issued a statement saying a bid had been lodged by the Catalan giants but it did not meet their valuation for a player they signed from Rennes for €15m last year.
Dortmund have now announced Dembele will be punished for his no-show and will be banned until after this Saturday’s DFB-Pokal clash with Rielasingen-Arlen.
Sporting director Michael Zorc explained: “Ousmane Dembele was missing from BVB training today without permission and apparently decided voluntarily to do that.
“Of course, such misbehaviour will be sanctioned.
“On top of that, after consulting our coach, we have decided to ban the player from training and matches until after the cup match this weekend.”
Dembele scored 10 goals and supplied 21 assists in 49 games for Dortmund in his debut season with the club.