With nine games to go this season, Borussia Mönchengladbach still find themselves in a battle to extricate themselves from midtable obscurity. However, sporting director Roland Virkus is already facing a different kind of battle as he struggles to hold onto his star players with a potential summer exodus of players in danger of derailing next season.
The departure of goalkeeper Yann Sommer to Bayern in January, while sad parting of the ways was somewhat foreseeable and manageable with fellow Swiss Jonas Omlin coming in from Montpellier to replace him. That however could just be the start with other confirmed departures and others still heavily rumoured to leave the Borussia Park.
Left back Ramy Bensebaini and Marcus Thuram have already indicated they will leave the club at the end of the season with Bensebaini linked with Borussia Dortmund and Thuram linked with Newcastle and a few clubs in Serie A. The fact that the duo will leave for free makes their departures doubly painful.
The latest news emanating from the club rather shockingly indicates that veteran captain Lars Stindl is halting negotiations with the Foals in preference for a move to 2.Bundesliga side Karlsruher SC where he started his career in the club’s academy. The loss of the club captain will be a further blow to the fans, who have taken him to their hearts since his signing from Hannover in 2015.
Another player destined for greater things away from the club is Kouadio ‘Manu’ Koné, whose talent has hit the radars of a number of Europe’s top clubs. The midfielder has not hidden his desire to test himself at the highest level and a big offer this summer could be impossible for the player or the club to turn down. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and PSG are already being linked.
“There are stages to go through, of course” the 21-year-old has said. “But I’m an ambitious person, so I want to play for the biggest clubs in the world. We’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”
Julian Weigl is currently only on loan at the club from Benfica and although early indications are that he wants to stay, his further services cannot be relied upon 100%. The club also have a job on their hands to persuade Nico Elvedi and Florian Neuhaus to sign new extended contracts with the player’s current deals both due to expire in 2024.
The club have managed to extend the deals for Christoph Kramer, Alassane Plea and Jonas Hofmann, and they do have a talented bunch of youngsters coming through, but the long-term squad planning at the club leaves a lot to be desired.
However this season ends for die Fohlenelf, the end of the campaign will only signal the beginning of Roland Virkus’ work as he tries to plug the many potential gaps in Daniel Farke’s squad. The old adage of the seven P’s comes to mind with Gladbach right now: ‘P*** Poor Planning Promotes P*** Poor Performance’.