Official | Borussia Dortmund’s signing of Anthony Modeste brings much needed experience to attack

Following the diagnosis and treatment of Sébastien Haller which is expected to see the centre-forward out for ‘several months,’ Borussia Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl has been successful in the hunt to bring in a replacement at number 9 and additional firepower for Borussia Dortmund.

This has come in the form of French striker Anthony Modeste. The Cannes-born striker, who had an existing contract until 2023, has joined BVB for a fee in the region of €4m-€6m. The 34-year-old has signed a one-year contract.

At 1.87m, Modeste has a powerful physical presence and impresses with his aerial ability with half of his goals coming from headers. The French striker is recognised for his timing, most effective when poaching balls inside the six-yard box.

Modeste’s game is simple but effective, he is adept at holding up possession but can play quickly off a one-touch if he sees an opportunity to advance possession. He is skilful at seeking out and playing in the half spaces, he can also use the width of the pitch to avoid marking. He is disciplined at playing as the last man and skilled at staying onside. He is also excellent at anticipating through passes. His pace, aggression and efficiency in front of goal also makes him a permanent threat to opposing defenders.

At FC Köln, head coach Steffen Baumgart created a system of play that suited Modeste perfectly, putting the striker in good finishing positions. A system that relied on crossing the ball from both sides by Benno Schmitz and Jonas Hector. Köln had the fourth highest rate of balls successfully crossed into the box with 530 in 2021/22 behind only Sevilla, Barcelona and Manchester City. The Frenchman has scored 83 goals in 189 Bundesliga appearances.

Modeste has developed into one of the most consistent players of ‘Die Geißböcke’ scoring an impressive 79 goals across 156 games in all competitions for Köln, a strike rate that ranks the forward amongst the club’s leading all-time scorers alongside Lukas Podolski.

First joining the Rhein-Energie-Stadion based club in 2015, the French forward, whose father Guy was also a professional footballer, has had an ‘on-off’ relationship with ‘Effzeh’. In 2017/18, Modeste joined Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian on loan with an option to join on a permanent basis. During his time in China, Modeste scored 16 and created nine in 29 games. Following a breakdown in negotiations and protracted legal wranglings, Modeste re-joined the then 2. Bundesliga side.

Modeste failed to settle back in and was loaned to Saint-Étienne in February 2021. With former Leicester City and Southampton coach Claude Puel prioritising Mali international Denis Bouanga and Tunisian international Wahbi Khazri up front, Modeste failed to settle in with ‘ASSE’, as the French club are known as, playing just eight matches and failing to score a single goal before returning to Köln.  

During 21/22, the French striker was one of the most consistent performers in a team that achieved an impressive seventh placed finish and Conference League qualification. Modeste’s 20 goals in 32 appearances is a success rate that equates to 38% of Köln’s goals in the past season. A strike rate which ranks the centre-forward fourth in the league’s top goal scorer’s list last season behind Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Patrik Schick (Bayer Leverkusen) and Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund). 

However, the arrival of four new forwards at Köln with Steffen Tigges (BVB), Sargis Adamayan (Hoffenheim), Florian Dietz (FC Köln II) and Linton Maina (Hannover) suggests a potential change of strategy in 22/23 at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion.

According to Bild, Modeste was earning a salary of €3.5m at FC Köln which puts him at the lower end of BVB’s salary bracket alongside players like Marius Wolf. At Dortmund, he will almost be doubling his salary, earning €6m.

In terms of the striker’s suitability, the 34-year-old is an interesting signing for the experience he brings to a strike force made up of 20-year-old Karim Adeyemi and 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko as well as Donyell Malen who is still struggling to establish himself in the German football, scoring only five Bundesliga goals for Dortmund in 28 matches since arriving in 2021.

Modeste, who also had short spells with Hoffenheim and Blackburn Rovers, should be in a strong position to get on the end of the crosses of Marco Reus and Jude Bellingham. The signing appears to make sense as the type of target man the ‘Die Schwarz-Gelben’ need in Haller’s absence.

Ben McFadyean

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