The transfer window is back open and already we have seen a major deal involving one of the Bundesliga’s biggest players. Christian Pulisic (£4.35) will join Chelsea in the summer, but has been loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of the season to help with their title bid. That move will be eagerly watched by football fans in the United States, but also by the rest of Germany and even in England as it might have started a domino effect of transfers.
Pulisic’s move to Chelsea has helped pave the way for Callum Hudson-Odoi (£5.68) to leave Stamford Bridge, with the teenager looking to gain more regular playing time and Bayern Munich willing to take a £30 million risk on the unproven talent. Chelsea are reluctant to sell, but the Pulisic transfer also leaves Dortmund looking for a replacement.
The most likely signing for Dortmund is Borussia Monchengladbach winger Thorgan Hazard (£5.13), who coincidentally is a former Chelsea player, having failed to make the same breakthrough in the Premier League as brother Eden (£13.35). The younger Hazard has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season, only second to Marco Reus (£3.09) in the first half of the campaign. With Dortmund getting £58m for Pulisic, they have money to spend, it’s just a matter of deciding who to spend it on.
Another option that has come into focus is RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner, who is nominally a striker, but usually drifts out wide while playing beside target man Yussuf Poulsen (£1.46). He has been linked with a move to Dortmund (as well as Bayern Munich and Liverpool), and could allow Lucien Favre the option to play two in attack, as he has often had to rely on Mario Gotze (£1.27) as a false nine this season.
Maximilian Philipp (£1.27) has not had too many chances since Paco Alcacer (£3.13) arrived from Barcelona, and could go the opposite direction to Werner with Dortmund using him as a makeweight in the deal to get the Germany striker from Leipzig. RB bosses have already indicated that they will not keep Werner next season if he does not sign a new contract, as they are not willing to let him leave for free in the summer of 2020. As a result, if Dortmund, Bayern, or even Liverpool are prepared to wait until this summer, they might be able to get the talented attacker for less than £50m.
Alexander Isak (£1.25) also looks set to leave Dortmund in January, having failed to live up to his enormous potential. He is nowhere in Favre’s plans, but BVB will probably loan him out rather than do a permanent deal as they won’t want to give up on their investment so quickly. The 19-year-old has been linked with Besiktas as well as a drop to the second tier in Germany.
Bayern Munich have yet to make their mind up on James Rodriguez (£5.33), who is in the second year of a two-year loan from Real Madrid. The Bavarians have the option to purchase him for £38m in the summer, and will probably take up that part of the agreement even if he is surplus to requirements. Rodriguez is returning to fitness for the second half of the campaign, and will battle Thomas Muller (£1.56) for the starting role in support of Robert Lewandowski (£3.07). Mixed reports have come from Germany about his happiness at the club, but an increased number of appearances and starts could keep him beyond the summer.
Franck Ribery (£0.94), Arjen Robben (£0.77), and Rafinha (£1.53) will all leave the club at the end of the season. Robben has been linked with a move back to the Netherlands, while Rafinha looks set to join a club in his homeland, Brazil. Ribery turns 36 in April and could either retire or move to China or Major League Soccer to finish his career.
Bayern are eager to bring in defensive cover. Benjamin Pavard (£2.06) is a long-term target, with speculation rife that he has already agreed a move from Stuttgart. All parties have denied this rumour, with the agreement reportedly worked out during the 2018 World Cup. Bayern’s interest in Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Hernandez (£1.76) has been confirmed by both clubs, but they may wait until the summer to sign him for less than his £76m release clause.
Gladbach may be willing to sell Thorgan Hazard to Dortmund, but they have no intention of letting Alassane Plea (£2.36) move on. The French striker joined the club in the summer but has nine league goals this season since moving for £22.5m.
Schalke are in the market for a new striker and have been linked with almost every underperforming forward in Europe. Hoffenheim’s European exit has caused them to look to offload some players, and more departures are expected in January. Bayer Leverkusen have a new head coach, but Peter Bosz may choose to work with what he has rather than looking for reinforcements.