Borussia Dortmund appear to be the victims of their own success, with the Ruhr Valley outfit continuing to excel – but facing one similar problem as a result.
The transfer rumours linking the Signal Iduna Park outfit’s best players with other European heavyweights have already started ahead of this summer’s transfer window and again the Bundesliga side face a battle to hold onto their prize assets.
Since Jurgen Klopp took over in Dortmund and revitalised the club’s fortunes, plenty of big name stars have left.
While Nuri Şahin moving to Real Madrid and Shinji Kagawa opting to switch to Manchester United may well have been manageable (both have since returned), the exodus of top players to arch rivals Bayern Munich has been treated with understandable derision.
The former’s release clause was met by the Allianz Arena outfit, while the latter departed on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Signal Iduna Park.
While speculation continues over the futures of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus, İlkay Gündoğan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Julian Weigl, a pillar of the Dortmund hierarchy looks set to follow the trend and abscond to Bayern.
Mats Hummels, who has been with Dortmund since Klopp took on the job in 2008 and is now the club’s captain and defensive talisman, wants to move to Bayern, it has been revealed.
However, with Hummels entering the last year of his current Dortmund contract and the Bundesliga club starting to be backed into a corner, the desire to move to Bayern has been unearthed.
In the 5-1 win over Wolfsburg yesterday, the centre-half was understandably inundated with boos from the home faithful, who are entitled to ask the question we are all thinking – why Bayern?
Hummels surely could have his pick of leading teams in England or Spain should he make his desire to leave his current employers clear, but, like Götze and Lewandowski before him, will move to Dortmund’s nemesis.
The gifted defender is a product of the Bavarian outfit’s youth academy and made his way into the professional game at Bayern.
To return to his boyhood club is not something that the Germany international has not spoken off publicly given the animosity between the respective fans of the two clubs, but Dortmund have confirmed that this is his wish.
For the Signal Iduna Park outfit, there is no doubting that Hummels’ decision is a hammer blow – they will lose one of their stars and to their biggest domestic rival.
However, given that Dortmund signed the defender for €4 million and can expect to hopefully get six, seven or eight times that in return, financially it is good business – even if it is a real kick in the guts to the squad’s morale.
Thomas Tuchel will hope that someone like Matthias Ginter can step into Hummels’ shoes and show the required leadership, while ensuring no more of his stars are snatched up will now become his priority.
Hummels has certainly tarnished his reputation amongst a Dortmund fanbase that previously adored him, but is seemingly making the decision in a bid for success.
With his current club and expected future employer to meet in next month’s DFB Pokal final, the defender looks set to play his last game for Dortmund against Bayern, in what will be a mouth-watering and emotionally charged clash.