TOO many centre-backs? It’s not the worst problem to have, as any Arsenal or Manchester United supporter can attest to. Nevertheless, juggling the needs and wishes of half a dozen of central defenders will be nigh impossible for Borussia Dortmund throughout the season. Over-supply breeds anxiety.
Last week, Abdou Diallo hinted that he might leave the club unless the BVB hierarchy would provide assurances about his playing time. The Frenchman’s concern is understandable. After Mats Hummels’ return to the fold, Diallo is one of five players who will have to compete for one starting position. The 23-year-old saw plenty of action in his debut season at the Signal Iduna Park but Lucien Favre often used him as a make-shift full-back, a role he didn’t look all that comfortable in.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) July 3, 2019
BVB might be tempted to let him go this summer for fee in the vicinity of €30m, to make a small profit on their outlay from 12 months ago, when he was bought from Mainz, and to reduce the number of unhappy pros in the camp. Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly keen.
His departure to the French capital is certainly not a foregone conclusion, however. Diallo might only be third or fourth-choice behind Hummels, Manuel Alkanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou but Swiss international Alkanji has been beset with injury problems and Zagadou, the former Paris Saint-Germain youngster, is still very raw.
In an ideal world, BVB would rather keep Diallo than the two men behind him in the pecking order, Leonardo Balerdi and Ömer Toprak. Toprak, 29, is a decent, competent professional but not quite at Champions League level (anymore). Balerdi, a 20-year-old Argentinian is yet to feature for the senior team since making the move from Boca Juniors in January. He’s a prime candidate for a loan deal.
Abdou Diallo's agent has told Borussia Dortmund that the defender wants to leave the club, according to Sky Germany. #BVB
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) July 2, 2019
According to a source at the Bundesliga runners-up, Diallo will only be sold if he really pushes for an exit, in tandem with a club willing to pay the right price. Timing is also a key concern. BVB have only just started their pre-season and are reluctant to make the call on Diallo’s future before Favre has had time to assess his choices in more depth.
The fact that Alkanji has been unable to train properly this week due to renewed fitness concerns highlights the fluidity of the situation. Any interested Premier League clubs face the additional disadvantage of having to work to the early end to the transfer period on August 8th. They’re pushed for time, whereas the Black and Yellows are keen to sit and wait.