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Report: Borussia Dortmund Pull Out of Deal for Southampton’s Armel Bella-Kotchap

After a long drawn-out process, it seems like BVB have just checked their bank account and realised they don’t have the funds to make it work.

Nottingham Forest v Southampton FC - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

After a relatively lengthy transfer saga, Borussia Dortmund’s pursuit of Southampton center back, Armel Bella-Kotchap, officially over. Reports yesterday suggested that the deal was very close, even claiming that Bella-Kotchap was sat at home with his bags packed waiting for confirmation he could jump on a plane, which struck me as a funny image. However, the terms of the deal ended up being too rich for BVB’s blood, and they have now stepped away from negotiations.

Various reports have claimed that the deal was a loan with an obligation to buy, plus a loan fee of somewhere between €3.5m to €8m, and a transfer fee of around €20m. It seems like the loan fee (plus the fact it was an obligation to buy) was the sticking point for Dortmund, and as a result Bella-Kotchap will not be wearing yellow and black this season... Except that BILD are claiming that the deal isn’t completely dead.

The reports about this move have been all over the shop, particularly in the last few days, but at this point I’m willing to assume it isn’t going to happen. Dortmund are being cheapskates, and Saints haven’t really budged for any team this summer. The only give in Southampton’s transfer strategy seems to be if a player starts pushing for the deal themselves. However, Bella-Kotchap has behaved professionally throughout this process, so it seems unlikely to me that he will push for the “radically lower” demands that BVB need.

Of course, the other club that have been repeatedly linked to a move for the German center back is Bayern Munich. There are reports that he is still a possibility for Bayern, but he is their second-choice behind Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah. Should the Chalobah move fall through, Bayern may return to Southampton to negotiate a deal for Bella-Kotchap.

As most of you will know, I am, first and foremost, a Southampton fan. I have very mixed feelings about this news. My preferred outcome for Bella-Kotchap is that he stays a Southampton player. I think he will be the best center back in the Championship by some distance, and having just signed his replacement Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Saints may potentially have a center back pairing that is a top-half Premier League standard. That’s pretty great news for me! But BVB pulling out of the deal doesn’t mean he’s definitely staying at Southampton. If he has to go, I would much prefer Bella-Kotchap became a Dortmund player, and I certainly don’t want to see him heading to Bayern. I’m pleased that my absolute preference is still on the table, but it concerns me that my worst case scenario is right there too.

As to what this means for BVB... It sure seems like an odd decision to have spent all that money on an ageing but decent backup at a position that should not be a priority, only to pull out of a deal for a young, talented player at a position that is a little light (and that will become a high priority in the near future). For many, myself included, the Bella-Kotchap deal felt like the move Dortmund needed to make to recover what has been a disappointing summer so far. Instead, it looks like the club emptied the piggy bank for Niclas Füllkrug.

Your Thoughts?

How disappointed are you about the Bella-Kotchap deal falling through? How does this change your assessment of Dortmund’s business this summer?