Pep Guardiola’s highly successful conversion of Philipp Lahm from a world-class fullback into a world-class midfielder could be a blueprint about to be copied by Borussia Dortmund trainer Edin Terzic. The BVB coach has the option of repeating the former Bayern coach with Raphaël Guerreiro.
The 29-year-old Portuguese impressed last week in the Revierderby against Schalke and then produced another superb performance against Köln on matchday 25 from a midfield berth, leading many to question whether he should be ‘freed’ from his fullback role to unleash his talents in midfield on a more permanent basis.
Guerriero’s technical ability and creativity have never been in question, but he does have his detractors regarding his defensive qualities. He is an attacking fullback in the full modern sense of the word, but has the time come now for him to be ‘unshackled’ completely.
He is out of contract in the summer and there has been no indication that he will either sign a new deal at the Signal Iduna Park or be tempted to move elsewhere. The general consensus is that Dortmund are looking to freshen things up in the fullback area with patience running out with Guerreiro. However, pushing him into midfield could be the perfect solution for both parties.
Dortmund coach Edin Terzic hinted as much when speaking ahead of the clash with Köln on Saturday. “Rapha has often been used as a left-back in recent years. But we know he can also make good decisions in the midfield. He always gets into positions in the half spaces where he always finds solutions.
“We wanted to have a lot of ball-secure players in the centre on Saturday. He played a good game, we want to keep that open for the future as well.”
Against the Geißböcke on Saturday he was arguably the Schwarzgelben’s Man of the Match opening the scoring with a well taken goal and then providing assists for both Sebastien Haller and Marco Reus.
With Mahmoud Dahoud confirmed as leaving the club in the summer and the future of Jude Bellingham also unclear, BVB will have spaces in midfield to fill next season and an improved contract and a new role for Guerreiro could be one possible solution.
Unleashing the Portuguese into midfield and allowing him to showcase his creative skills, while also having him as an option to deputise at fullback could be win-win situation for Dortmund. There will be no shortage of clubs willing to sign Guerreiro in the summer so the BVB hierarchy are going to have to move fast in persuading the player that a new future at the club in midfield is the right move for this stage of his career.