In a little over a month, the transfer window will close in Europe. Unsurprisingly, it has been a busy window for Dortmund and new manager Peter Bosz, but it hasn’t been as chaotic as BVB fans might have expected it to be.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang led the Bundesliga in scoring last year, and has been linked to almost every big club in Europe over the past 6 months. It seemed like a formality that he would leave. At one point he was destined for PSG. Then he was cashing-in and going to China. Most recently were links with his old club AC Milan.
But none of those moves have come to fruition. Aubameyang seems perfectly happy at Dortmund, Zorc said he’s not leaving, and thus the smart bet now is that he stays at least another year.
BVB have brought in quality players this summer, but keeping Auba is the biggest move they’ll have made (or not made) in this window.
Consider the alternative: say Dortmund sell Aubameyang to PSG for €70 million euros. Sure, that’s a nice fee in return for a 28-year-old, but then what? The striker-stocked shelves of the European transfer market have already been shopped bare. Alexandre Lacazette has gone to Arsenal, Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, and Alvaro Morata to Chelsea.
Where would Dortmund possibly turn to find a replacement for Auba? They’d end up with someone like Olivier Giroud or Bobby Wood; a square peg in a round hole.
But keeping Aubameyang means that this won’t be as much of a rebuilding year as past seasons have been. Yes, there’s a new manager in town, but there isn’t the same amount of insane squad turnover that there has been in the past when BVB have had to sell key players to bigger clubs.
If Peter Bosz can get the squad to gel with his possession-based system, then Dortmund could actually find themselves in a title race this season. That would not be even close to possible if this summer had seen the departure of their star striker.
I’m not saying Dortmund will win the league, but Bayern have not been perfect lately. They haven’t really run away with the title since 2013-14, when they finished ahead of Dortmund by 19 points. Bayern have slipped and dropped points late in recent seasons, but they’ve done so at points when it would’ve taken a complete capitulation in form for them to lose their place at the top.
If Dortmund’s young stars continue to improve, Aubameyang keeps scoring like crazy, and the team can find some defensive consistency, then maybe they can put themselves in a position to take advantage of an imperfect Bayern team. I know it was the cup, but BVB showed last year that they can beat Munich toe-to-toe in a high intensity match.
It’s still not fair to expect BVB to win the league this season, but it’s not unfair to expect them to at least be in the title race. Keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang makes that a possibility, while a Dortmund team without him might end up struggling just to finish in the Top 4.