With the transfer of Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City set to be announced any day, the focus now turns to who will replace Gundogan in Dortmund's midfield. He missed quite a few games to injury this year, but Gundogan's departure will still leave a whole in BVB's midfield depth that needs to be filled.
Meanwhile the status of Henrikh Mkhitaryan is up in the air as contract talks with him have reportedly stalled. If Gundogan and Mkhitaryan depart this summer, Thomas Tuchel will need to make additions in the transfer market to fill openings both in central midfield and central attacking midfield.
Is Hakim Ziyech the one to fill those needs? Dutch and English sources are linking FC Twente's 23-year-old Moroccan international with a transfer to Dortmund. Ziyech was born in the Netherlands but chose to play for Morocco, where his parents were born. He had previously made three appearances for the Netherlands U-21 team before making his senior commitment to Morocco.
Nice work from Michael Zorc to sign Hakim Ziyech. Expected to see him in the PL next year— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) May 25, 2016
So far we would qualify this as a rumor due to the sources reporting it, but Ziyech is certainly a reasonable option.
This season he had 17 goals and 10 assists for Twente while playing as a CAM and a CM. He can also slide over to play on the right if need be. Like Ilkay, Ziyech loves to dribble right at, and past, opposing defenses with slaloming runs. He's not a big midfielder and would need to bulk up a bit to really compete in the midfield's of the Bundesliga, but that shouldn't be a problem considering the facilities that would be available to him in Dortmund.
Dortmund have signed Mikel Merino from Osasuna, but that may not be enough. Merino looks promising, but it wouldn't be smart to only replace Gundogan with a 19-year-old who has been playing in the second-division in Spain.
Ziyech is Twente's brightest young talent, but they may be forced into selling him. Financial problems and illegal monetary practices resulted in Twente being relegated from the Eredivisie this season despite a 13th placed finish. Second-division football next year means that Ziyech is almost guaranteed to be moving somewhere else this summer. If we want him it probably wouldn't cost more than €10 million.
Dortmund certainly aren't the only team interested in Ziyech. In recent months he's also been linked to Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham.
€10 million is nothing to the Premier League clubs, so those pulling the strings at BVB will need to act fast to sign Ziyech. A player scoring 17 goals from a position other than striker will always attract suitors. Yes he's done it in the Dutch league, but Hakim Ziyech has all the makings of a player who could become an elite play-maker in Germany.