Before the calendar even flipped to April, Borussia Dortmund had already secured their second signing of the summer window. In addition to Omer Toprak, BVB will be adding midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud in July from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Dahoud turned 21 this past January is the newest in a long line of talented youth stars looking to make waves in Dortmund. His partner in central midfield is another up-and-coming star in Germany international Julian Weigl. Both have shown the capability to be solid two-way players who rarely make mistakes with the ball.
But just how long will this partnership last at Dortmund?
While it’s possible that the two could partner up with BVB for the foreseeable future, there’s been vast interest in Julian Weigl from some of Europe’s biggest clubs. With that in mind, could it be that Dahoud is the incumbent to replace Weigl?
Looking back to February of 2016, rumblings about Dahoud coming to Dortmund began to surface. The then-20-year-old midfielder was talked about as a replacement to the likely-departing Ilkay Gundogan. With his contract expiring in 2018, Dahoud was considered invaluable to Gladbach and BMG manager Max Eberl refused to let his talented midfielder leave early.
While Gundogan left for the glowing lights of Manchester City, Dahoud stayed in Monchengladbach much to the chagrin of Dortmund. Rather than finding a direct replacement to Gundogan, Dortmund decided to do so in the aggregate. Mario Gotze and Sebastian Rode were both acquired from Bayern Munich. Safe to say, those two have failed to pan out and Dortmund was once again left with a huge void at central midfield.
Losing a fundamental player like Gundogan meant a switch in tactics was forthcoming. Instead of the traditional 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 that Dortmund played with Gundogan, BVB experimented using several different personnel groups and numbers at the back. Success was found using a 4-1-4-1 or a 3-5-2 and even the 5-3-2, but it wasn’t Dortmund football.
With Dahoud on the squad, Dortmund can revert back to it’s previous style of play, similar tactics used by Dortmund in the 2012-13 campaign.
Not only does Dahoud provide the opportunity to renew past success, but he also fills a necessary need to bolster defense. Along with Toprak, Dortmund will be adding two legitimate defensive juggernauts to their roster, meaning it will be even more difficult to break down the BVB defense.
But with extensive interest in Weigl, what does the future have in store for Dahoud?
This past January, Atletico Madrid and Paris-Saint Germain expressed interest in trying to swoop for Weigl. The Spanish club looked to sign Weigl and William Carvalho in response to the technical staff’s dismay with some Atleti players.
PSG, on the other hand, was interested in Weigl as a summer addition. With Thiago Motta’s contract expiring, Weigl, according to Canal-Supporters, is seen as the ideal replacement and a move before summer was unlikely. It’s no doubt Weigl will be one of the hottest commodities around Europe this summer with interest from these two clubs in addition to Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City.
It also seems as if Dortmund knows this, too. It’s extremely likely Dahoud was signed with the knowledge that Weigl may well be on his way out this summer, even with a contract extended through the end of the 2020-21 season.
Dahoud’s arrival might signify the impeding departure of one Dortmund’s highly touted youngsters. It’s difficult to know yet if this is the actual motive for signing Dahoud, but adding a player of his quality for depth is unlikely. It’s also probably not a move where someone valuable or tenured will stick around much longer. Whether that person is Weigl or someone like Gonzalo Castro or Nuri Sahin remains to be seen.
We’ll just have to wait until summer to see which player, or players, are gone with Dahoud coming to Dortmund.