Per RMC Sport, Borussia Dortmund are among the clubs interested in signing Reims talent Hugo Ekitike, with the French club asking for upwards of 30 million euros for the player this winter.
In the past, Borussia Dortmund have fared pretty well when it comes to poaching talent from Ligue 1. The French top flight has provided some pretty memorable and gifted players over the years that have made the jump to the Westfalenstadion, including the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembélé, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Raphaël Guerreiro.
It would seem that Borussia Dortmund are once again being linked with a player from said familiar hunting ground. The target this time is said to be a young, talented striker by the name of Hugo Ekitike.
Ekitike is currently the top goal scorer for Reims with 8 goals to his name in 17 appearances. He’s also chipped in with 3 league assists, bringing his goal involvements to a total of 11 so far this season.
Ekitike himself was an unknown quantity to the general world football audience until it was reported that Newcastle were interested in the player. The player himself started the season as the French side’s fourth tier striker, and only through impressive performances was he able to make his way into the starting XI.
Looking at his skillset, it’s no surprise that the young Frenchman is garnering interest from clubs around the world. For his age, Ekitike excels when it comes to his overall positioning, decision making in terms of shooting, and overall work-rate. He is a player who hustles on both ends of the pitch, which shows a maturity and dedication to excellence that can be found lacking in young footballers at times, even if they have heaps of natural talent.
According to Alex Barker of Breaking The Lines, Ekitike’s numbers when compared with the rest of his side are exemplary and put him well above his peers despite only becoming an important part of the squad this season. Even at just 19 years old, Ekitike has not only been the team’s top scorer, but also leads them in terms of progressive passes received and carries into the box.
He is also 3rd in shot creating actions, which isn’t too shabby for someone his age. All of this suggests that Ekitike is a player willing to take responsibility and action for his side to make a crucial play that usually has an impact on the final result. His efforts are surely among the reasons why his side are currently not directly involved in Ligue 1’s relegation scrap.
The question then is, why should Borussia Dortmund be wary of signing the player? Dortmund of course have a history of picking out top talent and really bringing them to the next level, and at least from that standpoint the purchase of a player like Ekitike would likely end up paying off relatively well.
It’s not a question of Ekitike’s talent, but more so of priority. Dortmund are frankly not in need of yet another teenage striker to add to their ranks considering both who they have in their roster as of right now and the plans Dortmund have to sign Karim Adeyemi come the summer. While Ekitike clearly has the skills to potentially become a significant striker in his own capacity, Reims’ valuation currently sits far beyond what I think Dortmund should invest in a player that has only just broken through to the French side’s first team in recent months.
The current asking price allegedly sits at 30 million euros, in addition to 10 million euros in achievable bonuses, along with 25% of any potential resale value. This may simply be Reims trying to play hardball so that they can keep the player until the end of the season, but their asking price could still be significant considering the player’s contract runs until 2024.
My main concern however would be that Ekitike’s arrival would further hinder the development of talents like Bradley Fink, who has shown himself to be an impressive goalscorer at youth level for Dortmund, and Youssoufa Moukoko, who still has all the talent in the world to play a significant role for Dortmund in the years to come.
Borussia Dortmund are of course also working to keep Erling Haaland for one more season, so their efforts should be focused on figuring out if the negotiations in this vein can bear any fruit.
Even if efforts to keep Haaland are not successful, the goal should certainly not be to bring in another talented youngster, but instead a proven goalscorer who can have an immediate impact. Any remaining funds from the sale, along with any other transfer funds Die Schwarzgelben may have available for the summer transfer window should be used to upgrade the other ailing positions in the team, namely the wings, midfield and most crucially the defense.
The rumor also does not make any sense from a financial perspective, just like the Mohamed-Ali Cho rumor did not. Dortmund simply do not have that kind of money to spend on talented but still developing players at the moment. And that is unlikely to change in the summer.
To put it simply, signing Ekitike would be a misallocation of funds despite his obvious talent, and I believe that Borussia Dortmund shouldn’t go seeking another diamond in the rough in attack when so many other positions on the pitch are in dire need of attention.