As unlikely as it may ever have been that Borussia Dortmund would finish the January window with a significantly revamped squad, BVB fans may still feel disappointed, especially with another club successfully signing Denis Zakaria for a reasonable fee. However, Licensing Director and Sporting Director-in-Training Sebastian Kehl gave an interview recently where he explained why BVB didn’t make any acquisitions:
To be honest, our efforts on the receiving side were very little because we believe that we now have significantly more staff available because long-term injuries are coming back. I think that we will achieve a different quality in the second half of the season.
If BVB’s luck with injuries during the first half of the season is any indication, then Kehl may be unrealistically optimistic here. The injuries in question include Gio Reyna, Erling Haaland, Emre Can, Mahmoud Dahoud, Dan-Axel Zagadou, and Thomas Meunier. Of these players, only Gio missed more than a month cumulatively during the first half. Further, even with these players returning, there’s still a major gap in defensive midfield and on the back line.
The fundamental issue is that this squad still has a ton of deadweight on its books. Axel Witsel, Nico Schulz, and Roman Bürki are just three players that make a ton of money and are far below what should be expected of players in this squad. Bürki hasn’t played a single minute this season, and his wages are so high that despite the club’s best efforts, they couldn’t manage to offload him during the January transfer window. What to do with these contracts, as well as finding new players to replace them, will keep Kehl and his associates busy for months.
It’s going to be a busy summer.