The cancer diagnosis for Sebastien Haller on the eve of the new season changed everything at Borussia Dortmund and led to the club’s kneejerk reaction to sign Anthony Modeste from Köln. The move hasn’t been a spectacular success and the question now is to whether a Plan B is required.
The fact that Borussia Dortmund have a ready-made Plan B helps. It also helps that the ready-made Plan B came on in the Revierderby to score the winning goal. Youssoufa Moukoko is the Plan B, and it is time for BVB to put it into full effect.
Modeste’s goalscoring credentials at Köln were impressive, but at the Signal Iduna Park, it appears he’s a round peg in a square hole. Former German international and pundit Dietmar Hamann criticised the striker this week saying he “acts like a foreign body and doesn’t fit into the team.
“Anthony Modeste hasn’t been integrated at all so far. He’s probably the best header in the Bundesliga, but he doesn’t fit in with BVB” Hamman explained.
He has made eight starts this season for the Schwarzgelben and scored once in 642 minutes of action. No assists have been forthcoming. His movement hasn’t been great, he’s a static target man, who looks to hold the ball up and contributes little overall elsewhere.
17-year-old Moukoko on the other hand has only appeared for 270 substitute minutes but has scored twice and laid on two assists. In comparison to Modeste he brings tempo, pressing, and despite his height an aerial ability (as Schalke discovered).
He is also not short on desire as he revealed on Saturday. “I had anger in my belly” he said, admitting his frustration at not playing quite as much as he’d like. “I’m very ambitious, so Edin has to hold me back sometimes, and sometimes he’s right! He always talks to me, he trusts me, and that’s what I need.”
This ambition is another reason Borussia Dortmund need to start him ahead of Modeste. Moukoko has still yet to sign a contract extension at the club on his current deal which expires in 2023. He is seeking assurances that he will get the game time he desires before committing his future. There would be no shortage of clubs willing to sign him on a free with a substantial signing on fee to sweeten the deal. It really could be a case of “use him or lose him” for BVB.
Just because the club threw a reported €11 million at Anthony Modeste doesn’t mean they have to stand by that decision to the detriment of the team functioning properly. Modeste is a short-term (expensive) fix, whereas Youssoufa Moukoko should represent the future for Dortmund.
Sebastien Haller will return, and a Moukoko with Bundesliga starts under his belt will be a much better deputy, that one who has had to tread water in the shadow of an ineffective Anthony Modeste for a whole season.
The Moukoko Plan B is not a guaranteed recipe for success, but so far Plan A isn’t working so all the sensible thinking points towards unleashing Moukoko on the Bundesliga from the start. BVB face Köln in the first game back after the international break. It will be fascinating to see whether Edin Terzic sticks (Modeste) or twists (Moukoko).