No, it’s not a song rejected from the original Sound of Music soundtrack, but a burning question on the lips of those of a Green and White persuasion in the North of Germany with regards the imminent future of winger Milot Rashica. Following his failure to secure his sought-after transfer away from the Weser Stadion, the Kosovan attacker now has to buckle down and prove his worth. If he doesn’t, then any potential move in January might be a pipe dream.
Following Werder Bremen’s escape from relegation last season with their play-off win over Heidenheim, it seemed a given that star man Milot Rashica would be leaving the club. Not just because his talent needed the move up to the next level, but because Werder were desperately in need of the transfer fee his sale would bring.
RB Leipzig were early favourites to take the 24-year-old, but ultimately were not prepared to meet Werder’s €20 million valuation, instead offering 15 million up front and a further €3 million in add-ons. “If we have set a limit for what we are willing to pay in transfer fee and wages, we will stick to it” RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said at the time.
Premier League side Aston Villa then emerged as genuine contenders for his signature and while they were prepared to pay the transfer fee in full, Rashica’s wage demands were the sticking point and they didn’t see negotiations come to fruition. Bayer Leverkusen then came very close to signing the winger on transfer deadline day only to run out of time in the negotiations with Werder over the ins and outs of the payment plan.
So, as the transfer window slammed shut Milot Rashica remained a Werder Bremen player and had to get his head around the fact that his much-anticipated move away from the Weser Stadion was not going to happen. He generously was given a week off by the club to help him get over the disappointment.
“The last few days were not easy for Milot as things went back and forth. That’s why we have decided to give him the week off to get his mind off this, so he can focus on Werder again,” Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt told the Weser-Kurier.
“Of course, he was disappointed and had to work through it. This experience isn’t good for him. Maybe it will take a while for him to process what happened,” said Werder sporting director Frank Baumann added.
That was at the start of October, but the Kosovan has since only managed a brief 25-minute substitute appearance against Freiburg on matchday 4. While he was behind the rest of the players in terms of fitness and match-readiness, his display was poor, and he looked like his head was still elsewhere. The club however played down accusations that there an issue with motivation.
“You can interpret it that way if that’s what you want to see. I don’t see it that way at all. There are reasons why he didn’t really get into the game [against Freiburg]. It definitely has nothing to do with listlessness. I can rule that out,” Baumann told the Weser-Kurier.
With a move in January to either Aston Villa or Bayer Leverkusen still on the cards, Rashica has 12 league matches until the Winterpause to get himself going again. Werder really could do with his full talents back on the pitch as their season thus far while respectable hasn’t exactly lit up the Bundesliga. A run of Milot Rashica back to his best would not only help them gain the points they need but would help in any January negotiations over his valuation. They won’t want either Villa or Leverkusen to have any excuse to try and lower the transfer fee based on an inactive/ poor Hinrunde display.
It is clear that the player doesn’t want to be at the club having set his heart on a move, but the facts are that he is a Grün-Weißen player at present and needs to get his head focused on producing the goods on the pitch, safe in the knowledge that his move could arrive in January.