It's been over a year since Gonzalo Castro made the move from Bayer Leverkusen to Borussia Dortmund. His time in black and yellow has had its fair share of ups and downs, but there is more reason to be positive about his future in Dortmund.
Castro's first real contribution for Dortmund came on September 23 in a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim. Down 1-0 in the second half, Gonzalo Castro provided a ball for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to slot home an equalizer.
In a German Cup drubbing of SC Paderborn just over a month later, Castro's true prowess came through, scoring twice and assisting on two goals in a 7-1 victory. Despite being capable of these types of performances, we didn't see it enough from the German midfielder.
While the fans of Dortmund did an excellent job being the proverbially "Twelfth Man" on the pitch, Castro was actually the twelfth man, and quite possibly the best super sub option in the Bundesliga.
Castro was extremely versatile for Dortmund in 2015-16. He made appearances at winger, attacking midfield, defensive midfield, and even a short, very unsuccessful stint at left-back. He was often times the first one off the bench.
His role turned into that of a starter as the year progressed and injuries mounted. He filled the shoes of Gundogan when the domestic counterpart went down with a knee injury, and Dortmund didn't really miss a beat.
Castro was also one of the most creative players for Dortmund. The multifaceted midfielder scored eight goals and added 11 assists in all competitions last season. He found ways to complete passes when it seemed unlikely while also taking a fair amount of attempts on goal.
Although he had aspects of a two-way player, Castro was often shaky defensively. As a central midfielder, he had some trouble cutting out passes. However, this was almost completely rectified by season's end and can be further improved throughout the summer.
Gonzalo Castro also had some inconsistent streaks during the season that were worrisome. He went four months without scoring, and for the majority of that time had only one assist.
It took Castro almost two months to get off the mark in Dortmund, and when he did, it wasn't exactly the offensive explosion Dortmund hoped to see out of the midfielder.
With the departure of Ilkay Gundogan seemingly imminent, Gonzalo Castro provides Dortmund with the option to promote from within rather than purchase a replacement midfielder. Castro provided depth in a team full of midfielders, but his talent will allow this role to be expanded.
Without any adjustment issues this season, the first month of the season will determine whether Castro can truly be the center midfielder which Dortmund needs.
As a two way player, Castro can create chances offensively while cancelling opponents' chances defensively.
The future is bright for the seasoned veteran, and it looks like Dortmund's twelfth man is becoming Dortmund's number one in a hurry.