With Jude Bellingham’s departure from the Signal Iduna Park this summer one of the worst kept secrets in football, Borussia Dortmund are going to have a massive hole to fill next season regardless of whether they win the Meisterschale.
Since joining from Birmingham City, Bellingham has blossomed into one of the world’s most sought-after midfielder with Real Madrid the favourites to land the hugely talented Englishman. His impact has been immense and like with Erling Haaland last summer and Jadon Sancho the year before, BVB are going to have to scour the markets to find a replacement (even though they won’t be replacing like-for-like).
So who are the potential candidates for the Schwarzgelben?
According the Bild, 25-year-old Mexican Edson Alvarez is high on the Dortmund radar after impressing at Dutch side Ajax. He has been attracting attention from the likes of Bayern Munich and Chelsea and could be acquired for around€ 40 million.
He joined the Amsterdam club in 2019 from Club America and has become a key member of the Dutch giants team. However, Alvarez is a predominantly defensive midfielder with Bellingham’s role this season being more attacking. BVB already have Emre Can and Salih Özcan to fill the defensive role, so the question as to whether Alvarez would be an adequate replacement needs to be raised.
A potentially more attacking option could be Spanish U-21 international Gabri Veiga, who is set to be leaving Celta Vigo this summer. While attracting interest from Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Dortmund might have to pull out all the stops to clinch his signature for a reported release clause of €40 million.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a break-out season in La Liga for Vigo scoring nine goals and adding four assists. He can be deployed both in the number eight role and as an attacking midfielder.
Dortmund has raided the English market before for talented youngsters, so why not again? With his chances at Chelsea seriously limited Connor Gallagher is widely tipped for a summer move away from Stamford Bridge and he will have a number of Premier League suitors. Dortmund however are also said to be monitoring the situation and could make a move.
Chelsea would want to recoup a fee of around €50 million and lot will depend upon the player’s desire to stay in the Premier League, where he will have options (Newcastle and Liverpool).
Unhappy with his playing time at Bayern Munich this season since his move from Ajax last summer, midfielder Ryan Gravenberch is said to be looking at his options with Liverpool highly linked. Could a stay in the Bundesliga be an option with BVB as the club to offer him the game time he craves?
Whether Bayern would even think about selling such a talented asset to their biggest rival remains to be seen, but they did sell Niclas Süle and Mats Hummels to the Ruhr side, so there is a precedent.
Just like with Jadon Sancho and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, a return to the Manchester City youth ranks could be a possibility with much-admired youngster Shea Charles. The 19-year-old has been with City since 2011 but is still waiting for his breakthrough. He’s a defensive midfielder, who can also play centre back or right back, and while a huge talent, might be an ‘as well as’ rather than direct Bellingham replacement.