The Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng transfer saga seems to be nearing its climax, with the Gabonese striker possibly close to a €70 million transfer to Premier League side Arsenal. Sure there are reports and quotes of the deal being “not close” *wink* *wink*, but it has to be coming soon with how Auba has acted in the last week.
Olivier Giroud would likely be coming over in a half-season loan as part of the deal. I think he is a top-flight striker with an eye for goal in clutch situations, and can do a valuable service in a Dortmund kit, but he’s not a long-term solution.
With no one behind him except for an inexperienced Alexander Isak, an injured Maximilian Philipp, a cooked André Schürrle, and a one-footed Andriy Yarmolenko, there’s not a lot in the cupboard at striker. Even less when you consider Schürrle and Yarmolenko are natural wingers and Philipp is still out with his torn kneecap. I like Isak, and I think he can be a great striker for the club one day, but he’s still too young and raw to be a day-in, day-out Bundesliga striker.
With the transfer window closing rapidly, let’s look at some players who Dortmund can replace Aubamayeng with:
Javier “Chicharito” Hernández
I’m sure we all remember Chicharito from his short time at Bayer Leverkusen. He scored against us during the 2016-17 season. Mexico’s all-time leading scorer, Chicharito led Die Werkself in scoring both seasons he was in Leverkusen. He had 26 total goals in 2015-16 and 13 in 2016-17, before being sold to West Ham United for £16 million. He has only scored 5 goals in 22 appearances and 1,253 minutes for the Hammers, who currently sit in 11th in the Premier League and are in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup.
However, he’s definitely dissatisfied with the current direction of the West London club as well as with his lack of playing time. An ESPN FC report claims he is open to leaving the club only seven months into a three-year contract. If he’s looking for playing time, I can’t think of a better option than BVB.
He’s got great footwork, and is a threat inside the box where he poaches goals. With the kind of service he’d receive from players like Kagawa, Götze, and Pulisic, I think he would flourish in the central forward role for the Black & Yellows.
I think he’d be a solid signing for a year or two while the brass go after a younger, more long term solution. But does he want to return to the Bundesliga? Can we afford his wages? And what about Los Angeles FC? Are they going to bring him in as their third Designated Player and dominate the Mexican-American market? Time will tell when the clock strikes midnight on the January window.
The main man for Italian club Torino, Belotti looks to be a dynamite player for Il Toro. In his first two seasons with Torino, Belotti banged in 40 goals in 6,046 minutes in 75 matches across all competitions, some insane statistics for a player as young as he is. He’s off to a slow start this season, only scoring seven goals in 18 total matches so far, but I believe we’ll see his production ramp up in the second half of the scudetto.
Looking at how he plays is amazing. Watching him run at and attack opposing defenses, reading the game and finding that final ball. His speed, his footwork, and his finishing skills are all joys to behold. This guy looks electric.
This would be an amazing signing if BVB could somehow pull it off. However, as much as I and a few other FTW writers would love to see him in our kit, I doubt it happens. We’d probably have to pay out the nose to pry him away from Torino. It would be way more than his estimated transfer worth simply because that’s what the market is like now. And the last time we had an Italian striker in our squad, it didn’t work out so well.
One of the few Germans on this list, Werner would be a fine acquisition. He has fantastic pace, a fine first-touch, and the type of finishing to end the year fourth in the German Golden Boot race with 21 goals. Right now, with 10 Bundesliga goals, he sits tied for fourth in the league behind Bayern’ Robert Lewandowski, Aubamayeng, and Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason. He was Leipzig’s top scorer in their Champions League competitions, even if he did have to come off at times with his inner-ear thing.
Unfortunately, I don’t see a way or a legitimate reason for RB Leipzig to sell their star striker to a league rival and contender for one of the few Champions League spots the Bundesliga has to offer. Leipzig are also in the same boat as us in regards to European competition, right down to playing an Italian side in Europa League, so it’s not like he can force a move for European competition. If Leipzig continue to fight and achieve Champions League qualification, then I doubt they sell their best player.
We’ve been linked with Dolberg in the past, so it wouldn’t be an Aubamayeng replacement blog without at least a mention of this guy. Now 20, the Danish striker for Ajax is coming off a season where he finished among the top 10 for the Eredivisie Golden Boot with 16 goals and helped lead his squad to the final of the Europa League (managed by He Who Must Not Be Named). He’s got great footwork, can hold up play very well for someone his age, and has great ability to create something out of nothing.
Unfortunately, Dolberg has been out with a foot injury since December and won’t be back until March, so a transfer right now is out of the question. A possible move during the summer, however, seems possible if he can recover properly from the injury and return to form. Keep an eye on him and any links to Dortmund going forward.
Poor Michy Batshuayi. He could’ve gone anywhere after 23 total goals for Marseille in 2015-16, with reported offers from West Ham and Crystal Palace. But instead, he went to Chelsea, where (unless you’re world class) young careers go to die. He did decent last year, scoring five Premier League goals in 20 appearances (including the title-winning goal), but this season he’s seen considerably less time on the field with the arrival of Alvaro Morata. He’s seen the field for Chelsea for a grand total of 1,045 minutes across 24 combined matches and scored a whopping 10 goals.
Clearly a change of scenery is necessary for the Belgian striker, and I think Dortmund can provide that plus more consistent starting minutes. With reports coming out from Chelsea manager Antonio Conte that Batshuayi is indeed looking to be offloaded this window. He’s only 24, so he’s still got plenty of time to develop, and he’s not going to cost a club like Dortmund everything plus the kitchen sink. If they weren’t so keen on bringing in Giroud, Batshuayi would be the guy I would want Zorc and Watzke to go all-in on this month.
The older Dembélé has been tearing up the Scottish Premier League for powerhouse Celtic for the last two seasons. As the primary goal scorer for the Glasgow-based club, Dembélé has found the back of the net 40 times in 70 matches across all competition, an amazing rate for someone who only joined the club last season. Adding in his final season at Fulham in the English Championship, with 17 goals in 46 competitive matches, and you have a lethal goal scorer.
A move from Celtic is inevitable for someone of Dembélé’s talent. His size, footwork, and touch are all beyond what the SPL normally offers its fans. But oddly, he hasn’t played a full 90 minutes in a league match since early November, and hasn’t even seen the field in six matches. It wouldn’t be injuries, because those would’ve been reported. And it’s not like he’s been demanding to be left out of games or anything like that; that would be foolish and only scare potential suitors away.
He’s been linked with Premier League clubs, which may bring his value and potential transfer fee up beyond what Dortmund may be willing to pay for him. But for now, with his estimated value at only €5 million according to TransferMarkt, it certainly couldn’t hurt to throw a bid in for the French youngster… as long as he doesn’t turn up like that other Dembélé.
Another young German prospect, and this one is quite the find by Hamburg. At six-two, the Hamburg striker has seen a considerable rise in playing time after bossing for the Hamburg U19 squad and with the German U17 outfit. He earned his first cap for Der Dino against Werder Bremen on September 22, and only a few matches later he scored his first goal against Hertha Berlin and then his first start against Stuttgart. Even with his fast ascent up to the first team of Hamburg, he’s still very raw and could use a little refining (much like Isak) before he’s given the mantle of first-team starter.
Should Hamburg get relegated, and this might finally be the year it happens, expect Dortmund to make a move to snap up the youngster before any other club can. The prospect of first-team football can be too alluring to anyone, even if they’ll get definite minutes at a lower level. But honestly, I wouldn’t be too wild about it if he were to move to Dortmund. Unless he takes a quantum leap forward with his development, it would be another season or two before we saw the fruits of this move pay off.
Like these suggested replacements? Didn’t see yours on the list? Let us know in the comment below.