With the news today that Bayern Munich have poached Mario Gotze from rivals Borussia Dortmund breaking just before each of them are involved in the Champions League semi-finals, it is concerning for Dortmund fans who have already seen Bayern romp the Bundesliga this season. However, it shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, because over recent years the club has shown an incredible ability both to develop their own stars, such as Gotze, but also to pick up bargains in the transfer market and most importantly, to replace what they sell with players of at least the same quality, often upgrades.
In summer 2011, the club sold their star midfielder Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid for just £6m as he only had one year remaining on his contract. This was seen as the first sign of the end of the charge. But they kept calm, purchased Ilkay Gundogan for £4m and kept on rolling. In summer 2012, they sold Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United for £17m and this was also seen as a worrying sign. But again, they stuck to their guns and replaced him with the superior Marco Reus for £16m. A £3m profit and a double upgrade to boot.
So what can they do to replace Gotze? Well, the answer lies within their own walls in the form of the multi talented Mauritz Leitner. Leitner is about as like-for-like a replacement for Gotze as Dortmund can find and they don’t need to spend a penny doing so. He possesses many of the same qualities as Gotze, and although he’s not at Gotze’s level he will make for a more than adequate replacement. Also within their own system is the prodigious talent of Leonardo Bittencourt who, like Leitner, possess the floating, drifting qualities of Gotze.
If they wanted to look out of house they could well move for Ajax’s Cristian Eriksen, who would be ideal in the newly vacated number 10 role behind the striker and would represent an impact signing as Reus did last summer. An impact that Dortmund might feel compelled to make to assure they don’t slip down the pecking order. Alternately, if a move to Chelsea isn’t finalised they could look at Leverkusen’s Andre Schurrle or even an ambitious bid to take their main rivals Schalke’s big talent Julian Draxler.
It’s a team with very few weaknesses and if they use the Gotze money to build the team, rather than as the start of a fire sale, they could be very well set. If they go with one of their young guns they could spend the money on a younger goalkeeper or even a move for Lars Bender to partner his brother Sven in defensive midfield and allow Gundogan more offensive freedom. There are plenty of options.
The one negative here is that if could precede a fire sale. The likes of Hummels, Pisczek, Subotic, Schmelzer, Gundogan, Reus and Lewandowski are all attracting envious glances from big clubs around Europe. They, as much as the fans, need to be persuaded to stay where they are. Dortmund couldn’t do anything about Gotze leaving once the release clause was activated but with £32m in the bank they surely don’t need to sell anyone else and can look towards building a team which can challenge a potentially developing juggernaut at Bayern.Published 23 Apr 2013, 15:58 IST