Borussia Dortmund have begun their transfer window shopping in emphatic fashion since the close of the Bundesliga season. The additions of Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, and Nico Schulz look to be only the tip of the transfer iceberg for Die Schwarzgelben. According to Bild, Hans-Joachim Watzke has highlighted that other transfers could be on the horizon, with rumours indicating that the Ruhr side could be looking to add a striker and central midfielder to their ranks. These have come hand in hand with SportBild suggesting that Dortmund will push to sell up to 11 players this transfer window, if everything goes to plan.
Because Dortmund is expecting to clear house in such wholesale fashion, it’s not far-fetched to think that Watzke and Michael Zorc may opt to look beyond the confines of the mentioned positions. There have been some interesting names thrown into the mix as of late, and there are certain players on the market that, while they may not be linked with Dortmund currently, perhaps should be considered as potential purchases to strengthen the side. Let’s profile a few of these names and how they might fit into Dortmund’s side next season.
Having reaped the benefits of what has been a fantastic campaign for Achraf Hakimi, on loan from Real Madrid, it would seem that Dortmund have opted to tap the same barrel twice and try their luck with another young player from the Santiago Bernabéu, namely Sergio Reguilón. According to Football Espana, the Black and Yellows are interested in signing the young Spanish left back, but face competition from the likes of Sevilla, among a number of other Spanish clubs.
Reguilón’s performances for this year’s faltering Madrid side have seen him hailed as one of the surprises of La Liga this season. According to Felix Pichler of FootballBH,Reguilón’s play is a mix of intelligent offensive build up and relentless defensive cover, with both his pace and stamina playing a key role in the successful games Madrid have played in the second half of the season, providing two assists in the process. The player has formed an impressive partnership with Vinicius Junior on the left, which has served to highlight his rise into the limelight
The mere interest in signing Reguilónis curious, to say the least. As of right now, Dortmund have Hakimi, new signing Schulz, Marcel Schmelzer and Raphaël Guerreiro, all of which can occupy the left back position. To even show interest would confirm that some of these players may leave this summer. While we can rule Hakimi’s early return from loan out straight away as per comments made by sporting director Michael Zorc, there has been ample speculation that both Schmelzer and Guerreiro may leave the club in the coming months. Head coach Lucien Favre has rarely called on the former Dortmund captain, opting to shift Abdou Diallo out wide when injuries forced Dortmund to get creative. With the signing of Schulz, I hardly see a chance of Schmelzer re-establishing himself in the team. However, recent comments made by Zorc indicate that perhaps “Schmelle” hasn’t played his last game in Dortmund colours, with the club expected to hold onto the player for at least one more season, according to Bild.
Guerreiro, on the other hand, has been linked with a move that would bring him back under the wing of former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel and PSG are said to be interested in signing Rapha, and with the player’s contract running out next year, Dortmund may be tempted to sell their current utility player. Stifled contract talks have not helped the situation either, which could mean the club may lean towards separation sooner rather than later, and for a profit.
With Guerreiro potentially out of the picture and Schmelzer not really in Favre’s plans, the addition of Reguilóncould be a welcome one, although preferably not on loan this time. Reguilónwas one of the bright spots in a Madrid side that left much to be desired both domestically and beyond Spain. The main stumbling blocks in such a transfer would most likely be wages, as well as the seeming need for players at left back in Madrid, which is highlighted by Zidane’s urgent drive to bring back Hakimi. Recent rumours have signalled that Madrid are interested in signing Ferland Mendy, which could make Reguilón’s transfer easier to haul over the line. It would signal Madrid’s intent to go with another option, and it would then be in Reguilón’s interest to seek new pastures for more ample playing time.
While midfield isn’t necessarily a position Dortmund lack depth in currently, it may be an area that could soon need added reinforcements. The future of Julian Weiglis not yet entirely clear, despite Dortmund being adamant about wanting to keep hold of the player. PSG’s Thomas Tuchel, for example, has already expressed his interest in signing the midfielder this summer, a reunion that Weigl would perhaps favour, especially considering it was under Tuchel that the player rose to prominence in his natural role as a tempo dictating midfielder; a role currently occupied by Axel Witsel and his metronomic performances.
In the event that Weigl is sold, it leaves Dortmund in a bit of a predicament should Axel Witsel suffer an injury. No other player in the squad can replace Witsel’s ability to link defence with attack so cleanly and set the tempo of games as he does. But even if the club doesn’t sell Weigl, there’s clearly room for improvement, especially when one considers that a good portion of the players Dortmund intends to sell this summer account for their midfield depth at the moment. That said, if these sales go to plan, the midfield could become an area of interest for Dortmund to invest in. That’s where Youri Tielemans comes into the picture.
I must admit, Tielemans is a player I’ve watched for quite some time now, starting with his days in Anderlecht. I was always hopeful that Dortmund would snap up the prodigious Belgian, and in 2017 there was a glimmer of hope that, maybe, just maybe, I’d finally get my wish. Dortmund ended up on a list of clubs that Tielemans’ agent claimed would be the best option for the midfielderat the time.
Unfortunately for Dortmund, nothing came of this idle chatter and Tielemans made the move to AS Monaco this past summer. I thought Dortmund’s chances of signing the player were done, and yet, we find Tielemans at a crossroads. His time at Monaco hasn’t borne much fruit, and the midfielder spent the second half of the season on loan with Leicester City, moving in the January transfer window. It would be at Leicester that Tielemans would shine once more, putting in performances reminiscent of his Anderlecht days. In his time with Leicester, the player managed three goals and four assists with an overall pass success percentage of 85%. This, coupled with the five goals and assist in Ligue 1 with Monaco brings his totals to eight goals and five assists. For such a tumultuous season filled with change, I would say this is a solid return.
Tielemans’ potential impact in the Dortmund lineup can’t simply be measured with these statistics, however. The Belgian international is very versatile, able to play both in an attacking and more defensive role, which would open many possible avenues for him to get into Dortmund’s starting XI. Both his passing acumen and his capability to put in a strong tackle make him the perfect candidate to supplement or cover for Witsel on the pitch, if need be, while his ability to score fantastic goals from outside the box and out-dribble opponents gives Dortmund yet another element in attack. In many ways, Tielemans is also perhaps the player that can finally replace İlkay Gündoğan, a sentiment that was expressed as far back as 2015. His versatile nature would allow him to play in a more box to box role, and considering the skillset he possesses, he would make for a worthy heir; one the Westafalenstadion has waited a long time to see.
Just as in 2015, however, the pricing remains an issue. As of current, his market value stands at €22 million, but Monaco would ask for closer to €40 million for Tielemans. With a host of teams such as Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United linked with the player, it may be difficult for Dortmund to offer the same sort of money sides in the Premier League and beyond can conjure up, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try. With the funds from the projected sales, and perhaps the sale of Julian Weigl, affording Tielemans seems much more realistic. Tielemans would make a more than worthy addition to the team and would further underline Dortmund’s intent for the coming season. We’ve shown that despite interest from other clubs, we can sign players of top tier quality, just ask Julian Brandt. It’s been a season of dream signings, so let’s keep the theme rolling. Agent Axel, you have your next mission.
It’s no secret that Dortmund have been interested in bolstering their frontline this summer, namely with another striker that could provide both relief and competition for Paco Alcácer. One would think that in Alexander Isak, Dortmund have a ready-made option to do just that. The young Swede has had a sensational loan spell in the Eredivisie while playing for Dutch side Willem II. Isak has scored a total of 19 goals and assisted a further 6 in all competitions for the Dutch side, which had perked the elite European clubs.
Despite this being the case, Dortmund seem keen to add yet another young talent onto their roster in the form of Marcus Thuram. The 21-year-old has had a solid season with French side EA Guingamp, notching into the back of the net 13 times and providing one assist in 38 appearances across all competitions. The player is known mainly for his dribbling ability, with the numbers showing that Thuram completed approximately 3.2 dribbles per game (Whoscored) in Ligue 1 this season. He is also intelligent on the ball, able to create chances and open up spaces for teammates with his runs.
Unlike Paco Alcácer, Thuram would also add yet another option for Dortmund at set pieces. At 6’2’’, the player could become an aerial threat for corners, an element Dortmund have missed in the striker position this season. This is something that Dortmund already had with Isak but with the Swede joining Real Sociedad for a fee between €6m-€10m, BVB should use this money to entice Guingamp to sell Thuram.
As of current, Arsenal and Borussia Mönchengladbach have shown interest in Thuram, and could rival Dortmund for his signature. That said, it would make more sense for Thuram to sign for Dortmund due to the limited playing time he would have at Arsenal. With the likes of Alexander Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suiting up for the Gunners, I find it hard to believe that Thuram could displace either of them in the starting 11. Now that Isak has been sold, Thuram’s addition could prove valuable for Dortmund.
While the realization of some of these transfers may seem like a bit of a stretch, Dortmund as a club this season have shown their ability to compete with Bayern, and surely have shown to potential signings that in joining, they have the ability to build on something greater with this club in the coming seasons. By adding these players, in the appropriate circumstances or as replacements for potential departures, Dortmund would be outlining that they are no longer a club willing to settle simply for second. The shift Dortmund have shown in the past couple transfer windows in terms of the types of signings they have been able to make indicates growth; growth that could perhaps lead to silverware in the not so distant future, and entice even bigger names into playing in front of the Yellow Wall for seasons to come.
By Brian Szlenk.