On the 23rd of April, Borussia Dortmund’s worst nightmare came true as Mario Götze’s £32m (€37m) release clause was met. This transfer comes as a double blow for Die Schwarzgelben as Götze’s new club will be Bayern Munich, the team who have challenged Dortmund for trophies over the past three years, thus creating a newfound, yet fierce, rivalry.
Despite losing their crown jewel, it is essential that the eight time champions of Germany do not feel sorry for themselves and instead move as quickly as possible in finding a replacement. In this piece I will look at who could potentially arrive at the Westfalenstadion and how they would fit in to the current Dortmund side.
Dortmund faced Màlaga in the Quarter Finals of this season’s Champions League and one player for the Anchovies impressed more than any other. If you watched the tie you will surely be aware of who I am referring to, if you do not I will elaborate; It was 21 year old, Isco. Previously of Valencia, Isco’s bargain release clause of €6m was met by the Costa Del Sol outfit in 2011 and the relationship between the two has grown ever since. For an attacking midfielder, his nine goals in the Primera División are especially impressive and although his he hasn’t made as many domestic assists as he’d have wanted, he has made three in Màlaga’s European fun. In some respects, Isco is the Rosaleda outfit’s own Mario Götze as both possess the same pinpoint passing ability, quick feet dribbling and have it in themselves to dictate games to a tempo that suits their own style of play. There is a stumbling block for this potential deal as Isco has been protected with a £30m release clause, however should Màlaga’s financial situation continue to fluctuate, there is a chance that he could be sold at a cut price.
Another player who put in a valiant performance against Dortmund is Christian Eriksen. Like Isco, Eriksen is 21 years old. Unlike Isco, Eriksen has experience at international level, which, some may say, puts him above the Spaniard on the shortlist for Götze’s replacement. Furthermore, Eriksen has more end product as the Dane has scored twenty one and made forty assists over the past two seasons. Every time in which Eriksen has possession of the ball is full of creativity, imagination and the game changing prowess that has put his name on the lips of all Eredivisie observers. Ajax are prepared to let their star asset leave Amsterdam should the right offer come in for him and with Eriksen’s contract coming to an end next year, no more than £15m should seal the deal. Despite this promising news, the Borussians will have to act fast as it rumoured that Liverpool and Manchester City are interested in the player.
Heung-Min Son of Hamburg is someone who I believe would seamlessly fit into Jürgen Klopp’s side. Offering goals, assists, accurate passes and delicious crosses, the South Korean is very similar to Mario Götze. Son is only 20 years old yet has played like a seasoned professional this campaign, scoring twelve in the Bundesliga, more than Götze who put the ball in the back of the net on ten occasions. Two of his goals came during an away fixture at Dortmund, in which Son put in one of the best showings of his young career and impressed the opposition’s scouting unit and hierarchy. On paper it looks like Heung-Min would be the cheapest option as his current contract comes to a close in 2014, which adds to Dortmund’s incentives to make an offer. Although Hamburg would like to keep their prodigy, the club do not have the financial power to tie the player down to a long term deal and with the cream of Europe’s crop sniffing, it’s only a matter of time before Son is playing in another team’s kit.
This last man on my shortlist is somewhat of a wildcard. Patrick Herrmann is not the same type of player as Mario Götze, nor is he the same type of player as any other of the names in this post. What Herrmann does possess is the extra dimension that Dortmund have lacked this season. Predominantly a right winger, the 22 year old has filled Marco Reus’ void remarkably well by spearheading the occasionally lacklustre Borussia Mönchengladbach to eighth place, four points away from European qualification. Over the course of this campaign, Herrmann has played up front, on the right flank and in the ‘Number Ten Role’. In each position his talent has been made evident, drawing comparisons with, former Gladbach now Dortmund attacker, Marco Reus. Die Fohlen were aware of the speculation surrounding Herrmann, so gave their number 7 a new deal running until 2016. This is where Dortmund’s chase for the player may well come to an end.
Whoever Dortmund have targeted to bring in, they must do so very quickly. Kevin De Bruyne was initially identified by many as a candidate to replace Mario Götze, however the Belgian has already been snapped up by Bayer Leverkusen, albeit on loan, which proves testament to the belief that the best signings are made before the transfer window even opens.