The time between the end of the season and the next major football event, be that the Euros or the Copa America, has to be filled somehow so that's why most media outlets spend their time coming up with all sorts of crazy ideas to fill the pages.
Most of the time you can ignore all these rumors, because they are the fabrication of someone's very vivid imagination; there's a reason why this time of the year is called silly season.
As of right now, Borussia Dortmund is a very "active" member of those discussions and BVB see themselves being linked to every player that can run in a straight line. However some of these rumors are certainly rooted in reality, so today we try to discuss one that at first glance seems to be a bit outlandish.
In the past couple days the black and yellows have been linked to several left-backs, most notably Ricardo Rodriguez from league rivals VFL Wolfsburg and Raphaël Guerreiro from French club FC Lorient. So is there any truth to these rumors or are they yet another mindless part of the off-season that we can ignore?
What is our current situation at left-back?
As of right now Dortmund have four(!) left-backs on our squad and basically all of them are tied to the club for several more years. Marcel Schmelzer (28) just extended his contract until 2021, Erik Durm (24) until 2019, Joo-Ho Park (29) until 2018 and Felix Passlack (17) until 2018. All of them have seen time at left-back this season and all of them could be used in the future at that exact position.
Marcel Schmelzer was the clear-cut starter throughout the season with 47 appearances at LB, Joo-Ho Park had 7, Erik Durm had 6 while youngster Felix Passlack had his lone start at left-back against Hamburg.
What went wrong at LB this season?
At first glance, there is not much to criticize about the performances we've seen this past season but that doesn't mean there's no room for improvement.
The efforts from all our players mostly shared one common trait, they were all solid in defense but ineffective on offense. In the entire 61 appearances all four of them only managed to accumulate 1 goal and 9 assists, for comparison Matthias Ginter who had 22 appearances at right-back scored three goals and had 10 assists. Generally speaking our right side of the pitch was a lot more involved in our offense than the left side.
Why is Dortmund shopping for a left-back?
Thomas Tuchel might be afraid that the offensive output from our current players at the position might not be enough against teams that park the bus.
Being one of the better teams of the Bundesliga can be tricky sometimes. Against teams like Bayern Munich or Leverkusen, a defensive minded player like Schmelzer is a good option. However, against teams that just sit back and wait for an opportune time to unleash one devastating counter-attack a player with a more offensive skill-set could be very useful.
Tuchel might not be too impressed with the players currently at his disposal in that category and wants an upgrade. Furthermore the current depth might just be an illusion, Schmelzer is definitely a left-back and that won't change anytime soon.
There are other players that could find themselves being used at different positions next season. Durm could be groomed as Lukasz Piszczek's heir at right-back, a position that suits him better seeing that he is actually right-footed. Passlack played most of his U19 games on offense and Park is....well, Park is probably gone after just one season with the club.
Is it a good idea to add another LB?
This is where it gets tricky. On the surface it seems that BVB has more obvious needs than a new left-back but great teams always try to add competition to their squad because as an old German saying goes: "stagnancy means regression." Adding a new player with a different skill-set than Schmelzer might also open up new options for coach Tuchel.
At the end of the day Zorc and Tuchel have final say on how to spend BVB's money and considering their track record (especially Zorc's) they seem to know what they're doing. So let's just lean back and enjoy the silliness, as frustrating as it may be at times.