Over the past few seasons, Borussia Dortmund has seen an influx of wingers both young and old. But despite trying out various options among concerns of bringing in “too many wingers”, it seems Dortmund has struck gold with Ukrainian international Andriy Yarmolenko.
There was a lot of enthusiasm when BVB brought in the “Turkish Messi” Emre Mor from Nordsjaelland last summer. At just 19-years-young, Mor’s upside and potential was through the roof. His skill obvious, Mor just never caught on with Dortmund and his first year was ultimately a failure.
Andre Schurrle was also added over the summer of 2016, as the former Wolfsburg and Chelsea man was poised to have a thoroughly positive impact. Injuries and lack of playing time plagued the aging German and he has plummeted down the Dortmund depth chart as a result.
Perhaps the most exciting prospect was the addition of Ousmane Dembele from Stade Rennais last summer. While his production on the field was positive, it was his attitude off the field that led to his suspension and subsequent dismissal from the club, sold to Barcelona for the second-highest fee in history.
Now, the new man in town is Yarmolenko. He doesn’t fit the bill of a normal Dortmund signing given his age (27), but his skill set will allow the winger to slot seamlessly into Dortmund’s scheme.
While he might not be as flashy as Dembele, Yarmolenko is a smart, agressive player with great football awareness. His lofty presence on the ball is similar to his soon-to-be counterpart Marco Reus.
Like Dembele, Yarmolenko possesses a strong dribbling ability and a keen sense of distribution. Again, not as flashy, though just as accurate. He can find seams in the defense just like Dembele.
But better than the young French protege, Yarmolenko is rarely dispossessed. Part of this comes with experience, though the main reason is his strength. Yarmolenko is rarely frustrated and turnovers are few and far between when he is in possession.
The one concern comes from this being his first foray outside of Ukraine. Yarmolenko has played for Dynamo Kyiv since 2008 and has never experienced the pressures and rigors of a league like the Bundesliga. Every player is more skilled and that step up might hinder Yarmolenko initially.
However, it’s important not to judge Yarmolenko’s tenure on his first month with the team. The move will take some adjusting for the winger, but there’s reason to be optimistic about this transfer. Yarmolenko could be more successful at Dortmund than Dembele ever could have been, and it’s his experience, poise, and positive attitude that will lead BVB to success.
The move to Dortmund for Yarmolenko is more welcoming to the club than it is for him, and Dortmund could truly contend for the title this season with him in the squad.