'I cannot take an inactive player' – Deschamps explains Dembele absence

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As the 20-year-old's transfer saga rumbles on, the France manager felt it was impossible to include the striker in his latest squad

Didier Deschamps felt compelled to leave Ousmane Dembele out of his France squad as the circus surrounding the forward's move from Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona seemingly remains no nearer a resolution.

Dembele has been absent from Dortmund training for the past couple of weeks as he looks to secure a switch to Camp Nou, with the Bundesliga club less than impressed by the 20-year-old's attitude.

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The striker netted on his last international appearance, a 3-2 win over England in June, but was left out of Deschamps' 24-man squad announced on Thursday.

France, joint top of Group A alongside Sweden with 13 points from six matches, host Netherlands and Luxembourg next week as they look to further boost their hopes of qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

And Deschamps had a word of warning for Dembele concerning his transfer saga.

"Ousmane has not been training for 15 days, he is waiting for a possible transfer, he is struggling with his club," said the France coach.

"I cannot take an inactive player. It is up to the players and their advisers to see what is best for the player. I spoke with him, he hoped it would happen more quickly.

"What's annoying is that he puts himself on the fringes. If it goes his way, it'll be less difficult to deal with. If he has to stay in Dortmund, it'll be less easy with his club and his team-mates."

Another man to find himself at the centre of a transfer storm has been Monaco's Kylian Mbappe, who has been heavily linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

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Unlike Dembele, Mbappe was included in Deschamps' selection, despite not playing any part in Monaco's previous two Ligue 1 outings.

"It's a similar, but a little different situation," Deschamps said. "There's a lot of noise around him too.

"But even if he has not been involved in the last two matches of Monaco, he is active, he is training. He just did not have time for specific reasons that are internal to his club."

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