Future bright for Dembélé. For Dortmund? Maybe not so much
Less than two weeks ago now, Borussia-Dortmund barely missed taking home the first trophy of the season. The club lost the DFL Supercup match, on home ground, in a tie-breaking shootout with Bayern-Munich, 4-5 (2-2). Life was good, the future was now. Bring on the new season!
Since then, however, all hell has broken loose for the black and yellow. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang revived his own transfer rumor mill over the weekend via Instagram. Then came news that the club’s budding standout, Ousmane Dembélé, had been suspended at least through the opening league match for being “unsettled”.
Seriously. That’s what they said.
Thing really have gone crazy.
Dembélé packs his bags
There has been frequent rumblings about Dembele’s move apparently being an inevitability rather than a choice. If things keep on like this Peter Bosz and company may as well just sharpen a long stick and poke themselves in the eye with it. Repeatedly.
Last year’s 3rd place finish for Dortmund placed the club firmly on everyone’s short list of favorites. Not just favorited to win the league this time around, but also to advance deep into Champions League.
And not only favorites as in likely to win, but favorites as in, “win or lose, it is fun to watch them play”. Not only was BVB armed with a free-flowing style of play, but they had young and able players taking it forward. The combination of Christian Pulisic, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Dembélé seemed to be a formula for future success. Short-term future and long term as well.
Just four days short of three full months have passed since the last Bundesliga campaign closed. And BVB have a little under four more days until the new season begins, but the party at Signal Iduna Park looks like it’s already over.
Pulisic is good, but not that good
The headline here says it all. Christian Pulisic cannot carry a team. In fact part of the reason for Dembélé’s sudden departure is a domino effect from Neymar Jr.’s earlier transfer to PSG. Barça know that not even Messi and Suarez can carry their side alone.
The requirements of the modern game include participating in several top flight competitions all at once. Week in and week out. Winning a domestic league or cup title is hardly considered enough any longer.
Ask Arsene Wenger. Or Carlo Ancelotti.
Pulisic will someday be good enough to play at a high level for many matches, but he’s not there yet. And it remains to be seen how well he, or even Aubameyang, could do without the threat and assistance of Dembélé. Great players make other players better. They raise the performance of everyone on the field.
Dortmund still have weapons, of course, such as Marco Reus, Mario Götze, and Nuri Sahin. And who’s to say what may become of the summer transfers they have made, including promising youngsters such as Dan-Axel Zagadou.
Zagadou was last with PSG in France. He arrives as just a teenager. He is a complete unknown for now.
Now where have I heard that story before…