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Fear The Wall Round Table: Winter Transfer Season Grades

Borussia Dortmund Unveils New Signing Michy Batshuayi Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund/Getty Images

Well i said going into the winter transfer window that BVB were unlikley to do anything. We usually have boring January windows. Not this time however. Below the Fear The Wall team gives Watzke and Zorc our grades for a wild window.

Sean Keyser

Grade: B

When in college, did you ever forget about an essay until the night before it was due, scramble to do it at the last minute, and it ended up being pretty decent? That’s what BVB’s transfer window feels like. After a month of pretty much nothing happening, BVB were hit by the sucker punch that was Aubameyang’s desire to leave. They ended up making the best of a pretty bad situation, by selling him for a hefty fee and getting a legitimate temporary replacement in Batshuayi, all the while avoiding potential landmines in Modeste and Giroud (who I don’t think would have been bad, but definitely overpriced). The losses of Bartra and Subotic sting, but hopefully Akanji can be a suitable replacement. The addition of Sergio Gomez is very nice as well.

Joel MacDonald


Well this transfer window went all sorts of crazy in the past week. Before that, it seemed perfectly normal. We signed the coveted Akanji, which seemed a bit odd considering the number of CB’s we had at the time, then sold fan favorite Subotić. As much as it hurt seeing him go, it’s the best for both parties. Seeing Marc Bartra was tough, as he became one of my favorite players at the club, but it seemed the best thing for him as well. He wants guaranteed playing time in order to make the World Cup squad, and that probably wasn’t going to happen under Stöger. We signed that young Barcelona midfielder Sergio Gomez, which shows the club is thinking long term once again. Finally, we offloaded Aubameyang, and signed Batshuayi on loan, which might prove to be a good deal. If Batshuayi performs, then we should look into keeping him. If not, then he goes back to Chelsea. Ultimately, I would’ve preferred other strikers (Ben Yedder climbed to the top of my list of realistic choices) but that seems like more of a summer move. Aubameyang clearly wanted a move, and his antics were starting to prove to be too stressful for upper management, who grow more and more incompetent as the days go by. My grade for this window would be a B-. We offloaded some quality players and I’m not sure the players we brought in are capable of immediately performing well enough to save Dortmund’s season.

Dan Shulman

Grade: B+

Not going to lie, losing Aubameyang and Bartra really hurts. But Michy Batshuayi is a very skilled replacement who can fit into the Dortmund system much like Aubameyang did. Over the last few months, it became evident Aubameyang no longer wanted to be with the club, and the offensive output suffered as a result. With Batshuayi, Dortmund gets a striker eager at getting playing time and looking to prove his case to be Belgium’s top striker at the upcoming World Cup.

As far as replacing Bartra, adding Manuel Akanji gives Dortmund’s youthful base another young, talented star in the making. Akanji is fast, tall, and has experience in European football with his previous club FC Basel. While Bartra may have been a fan-favorite, his defensive marking left a lot to be desired.

What about replacing Subotic? Well, Dan-Axel Zagadou will play his actual position of center back now, problem solved.

Finally, signing Sergio Gomez gives Dortmund even more competition at the youth level. The winger came over from Barcelona B and isn’t slated to join the senior team until July of 2019. With time to develop in a youth system famous for churning out stellar players, Gomez will thrive in Dortmund and could make his senior team debut sooner than anticipated.

Overall, it was a pretty solid window for the underachieving Dortmund team.

And although this year’s title aspirations seem dashed, the next 5-10 years look promising.

Brian Meyers


We were going to lose Aubameyang no matter what. We all knew this. He had said it was his dream to play for Madrid years ago. The fact that we got above market price for a striker who refused to play for us is actually great! And out of it we get a high potential striker who has the chance to stay with us for the long term. BVB only have one goal this season and that is to make top 4 and clear the way for Julian Nagelsmann. There is a new young core at BVB and its time to clear the way for them. Getting rid of Bartra was sad but it clearly was not for sporting reasons. It would be better football wise to keep him but the circumstances don’t leave me to angry at Zorc. Akanji and Gomes are great young pick ups and should turn into real contributors next season. We got both for good prices and both add much needed depth. It’s a shame we couldn't offload Schurrle but he may be useful in unneeded Europa league games. No inbound transfer will save this team from itself this year. We simply need to hunker down and fight out points to keep our UCL spot.

Nick Kapatos


Manuel Akanji - Not knowing much about the Swiss league, and not obsessing over his highlight videos, I should be more hyped than I am. I’m still really excited for him (6-2 defenders with his strength and mobility don’t grow on trees), but losing Bartra has dampened the excitement. Still, I can’t wait to see what he can do against Bundesliga competition.

-Sergio Gómez - Any time we can get someone from Barcelona, let alone their academy, I’d call that a win. I don’t know a lot about this kid, but I believe he was one of the stars for Spain at the U17 World Cup, and he plays on the left wing. We can never have enough wingers, given our injury predicament.

-Michy Batshuayi - LOVE this! We traded one Batman for another. And hopefully this one brings less drama. With Aubamayeng off to North London and a teenage Alexander Isak still inexperienced, striker was a big need. He never saw the field much for Chelsea, but I think he can do wonders with Pulisic, Götze, Kagawa, and eventually Reus serving him up balls to blast into the net. Plus, it’s a loan with an option to buy (!), so it’s not like they overpaid for his temporary services

-Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng - It’s been a long time coming, and I’m mostly in favor of it. He wanted to leave, and he did everything he could towards the end of his Dortmund career to facilitate it, but I’m still going to miss that guy backflipping after every goal he scores. Still, it had to be done; with all he did to piss off the fans, management, and (I’m assuming) his fellow players, there’s no way he could come back to Dortmund if this transfer fell through. Moving to Arsenal for £57.38 million, he becomes the second-highest outgoing transfer for BVB in their history, and I can’t wait to see what they do with that money. It’s been fun, Auba, but I hope you kindly do nothing of importance for Arsenal.

-Neven Subotic - Another longtime servant of the club leaves, and on a free no less.

-Marc Bartra - This one hurts. I can understand why he left, but it flipping sucks to see someone as talented and likeable as him leave. Earning €10.5 million for him, I feel like we could’ve gotten more from Betis for Bartra. It also leaves us thin at center back, with only Sokratis, Toprak, Akanji, and Zagadou at the position. But more importantly, we’re losing a great person and an obvious fan-favorite who was always smiling when I saw him on the BVB Snapchat. Damn, this sucks.

-Jacob Bruun Larsen - Loaned out to Stuttgart for the rest of the year. I’m happy with this; he’s obviously good enough to crack the first team bench with us, so he should get plenty of time for a struggling Stuttgart.

Conclusion: Losing Bartra and Aubamayeng are unfortunate for completely different reasons, but the additions of promising youth players and a temporary Batshuayi somewhat counter that. We also added a cool £63 million into the coffers, which will definitely be used to help the rebuild of key positions once the season has concluded.