Borussia Dortmund youth prospects Hendry Blank and Julian Rijkhoff have both seemingly coordinated moves away from BVB, securing permanent transfers to RB Salzburg and Ajax Amsterdam respectively. While Rijkhoff’s departure was a long time in the making, Blank’s decision to refuse a contract extension and part ways with BVB will come as something of a shock to BVB fans and the boardroom.
Julian Rijkhoff made the move from the Ajax youth academy in July of 2020, joining a strong attacking core in the BVB youth team that included the likes of Youssoufa Moukoko and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens. While Rijkhoff’s time in the U19s can only be described as a success, with 59 goals scored in 77 appearances at the youth level, he has stagnated in the second team, making a few substitute appearances. Rijkhoff will reported make the move to Ajax for around €2.5 million, and with the path to the first team currently very unclear for the youngster, a move back to Ajax is definitely in his best interest.
Borussia Dortmund and Ajax have reached an agreement. Julian Rijkhoff will join Ajax. Borussia Dortmund will receive 2.5 million euros, including bonus payments, and the club will also have a future sell percentage.— BVB Newsblog (@bvbnewsblog) February 1, 2024
Auf Wiedersehen, Julian!
The departure of Hendry Blank, on the other hand, is far less cut-and-dry. Blank has been touted by Sebastian Kehl and Edin Terzic all season as an important member of the BVB defensive core. Blank got his first minutes for BVB only recently, turning in an assured performance against Köln after coming in for the injured Niklas Süle. It seemed that good things were on the horizon for Blank, who firmly established himself as the 4th choice center-back, ahead of the likes of Antonios Papadopoulos, who has more experience in the first team.
Somewhere it has all gone wrong, however, and BVB’s homegrown talent is closing in on a move to RB Salzburg. The move will come as a blow to the BVB squad, leaving the center-back position with precious little coverage. In his only match, Blank showed a composure on the ball beyond his years, and a physical presence that suggested a future as a powerful central defender. Regardless, BVB have been unable to extend his contract despite their best efforts.
Blank’s move could still include a buy-back option, but none has been reported. Hopefully, BVB are able to negotiate such a clause, because Blank could be one for the future. His sale will generate up to €7 million according to reports from BILD, which, for a barely-senior level player, is excellent business. If that seven million is the difference between BVB retaining and losing a player like Ian Maatsen in the summer, fans will be pleased that Blank’s sale, though unfortunate, made the difference.
What are your thoughts on these departures? Can BVB backfill Blank as their depth center-back, or do they need to look to the market? Let us know in the comments.