The long drawn out saga surrounding the future of BVB star Ousmane Dembélé has finally come to a conclusion following the announcement that Barcelona have finally signed the French attacking midfielder for a reported €105 million (potentially rising to €147 million).
The Schwarzgelben now have only six days to act in the current transfer window if they are to spend some of their huge Barca windfall on a replacement. It will be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to find a player of Dembélé’s immense quality, but here are some of the candidates likely to be on the BVB radar.
Malcom (Girondins de Bordeaux)
High on the wanted list is said to be 20-year old Brazilian Malcom from Bordeaux. Like Dembélé before him, Malcom has impressed in Ligue 1 and his pace and ability would be a good match for BVB.
He has begun this season in blistering form scoring two goals and providing two assists already in the first two games of the new Ligue 1 campaign. Last season saw the former Corinthians player bag seven league goals.
According to reports, Dortmund are prepared to offer around €30 million for the attacker, who still has a contract at the Stade Matmut Atlantique until 2020. However Bordeaux trainer Jocelyn Gourvennec believes a move to Germany has come too soon. “Malcom has to improve and become more robust before he leaves us. One or two more years in Bordeaux will help him.”
Maxwell Cornet (Lyon)
The 20-year old right-sided attacker has been strongly linked with Dortmund, while 1FC Köln are said to have failed with a €15 million offer earlier this summer. He is under contract with the Ligue 1 club until 2021 so would not come cheap. It is understood Dortmund are prepared to bid around €22 million for the Ivory Coast international.
Cornet scored 10 goals in 51 appearances in all competitions last season for les Gones, while providing a further 3 assists. He possesses great creativity, is extremely comfortable on the ball and is a highly versatile option for the forward line.
However, reports claim that Lyon are highly reluctant to lose their man so close to end of the transfer window and particularly after sanctioning the sales of both Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich) and Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).
Another top candidate and one who certainly looks to have huge potential is Gremio’s Luan (or Luan Guilherme de Jesus Vieira to give him his full name). According to reports in the Correio do Povo in Brazil, the Porto Alegre club are expecting a bid from Dortmund for their player.
However, BVB are not the only club on the trail of the 24-year old with Sampdoria having failed with a €16 million bid and Spartak Moscow having had a €24 million offer turned down. Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool is also reported to have tabled a €35 million offer last season.
The Brazilian Olympic Gold medal winner’s contract expires next year so Gremio could be willing to cash in on their talent. Luan is pacy, skillful and is comfortable on either flank, or down the middle where he is adept at finding space. He is very much in the Roberto Firmino mould- he provides the focal point for attacks, while also working hard and using his intelligence to good effect.
Inaki Williams (Atletico Bilbao)
Another option for Michael Zorc and Hans-Joachim Watzke to consider is Bilbao’s Inaki Williams. He can play wide or centrally as a classic central striker. The 23-year old is contracted to Los Leones until 2021, but has a reported release clause of €50 million- a fact that shows just how highly the club rate him.
He is a quick forward, who possesses great vision and creativity, and isn’t afraid of hard work. However, his strike rate is somewhat disappointing having scored just eight goals in 49 appearances last season
Back in February, Williams claimed his priority was to stay with the Basque side while not ruling out a move completely. “If clubs are looking at me it’s because I’m doing things well. I’m very lucky,” he said. “If tomorrow I had to leave I would always be very honest with Athletic. They’ve given me everything. Staying put is my first option right now, though.”
Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina)
19-year old Federico Chiesa is a product of the Fiorentina youth system and was promoted to the first team squad last summer. In his first season he completed 36 games scoring five goals along the way and providing four assists.
The youngster is seen as one of the league’s top young talents and has already been linked with a move to Napoli, who have reportedly offered €40 million for the teenager. He is the son of former Italy, Parma, Lazio and Fiorentina striker Enrico Chiesa.
Predominantly left-sided (although right-footed), Chiesa is skilled at cutting inside, can shoot from outside the box and is versatile enough to play as an attacking or central midfielder as well as providing the option as a second striker.
Probably not likely with over a million euros burning a hole in their back pocket, but it could be argued that BVB already have the players to cope with the loss of Dembélé. Christian Pulisic looks set for a breakout season, while both Mario Götze and Marco Reus are both going to return from injury.