Opinion: Should Borussia Dortmund target another striker during this transfer window?

OSAKA, JAPAN - JULY 28: Hugo Ekitike of PSG in action during the preseason friendly match between Cerezo Osaka and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Yanmar Stadium Nagai on July 28, 2023 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
OSAKA, JAPAN - JULY 28: Hugo Ekitike of PSG in action during the preseason friendly match between Cerezo Osaka and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Yanmar Stadium Nagai on July 28, 2023 in Osaka, Japan. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

Borussia Dortmund are said to be looking for another striker, with the club allegedly targeting PSG striker Hugo Ekitiké, per reports.

Borussia Dortmund are seemingly still on the search for another attacking talent ahead of the new season. Previoisly, the club had been linked with signing a versatile attacker that can both play through the middle as well as out wide, but now, the focus seems to be on signing an out and out striker.

According to reports, PSG’s Hugo Ekitiké is on Dortmund’s radar predominantly because Sébastien Haller is going to be unavailable for a substantial amount of time due to his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast. Dortmund are allegedly unsure as to whether or not Youssoufa Moukoko is capable of leading the line in Haller’s absence. BILD are further reporting that Dortmund Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl is trying to convince Ekitiké of the prospect of a future with Die Schwarzgelben.

In addition to this, head coach Edin Terzić has recently been very open about the fact that Dortmund will lack height during Haller’s absence, which means that in all likeliness the club are looking at possible alternatives. While it’s clear that Edin Terzić favors Haller’s profile of striker, Moukoko and Dortmund’s manager have a close relationship; one that is is very transparent, meaning that if Terzić had no plans to utilize him in the coming season, he would likely not be in the squad in the first place. Dortmund also worked hard to commit Moukoko to a new contract last winter, likely promising the player a more involved role in the club’s plans moving forward.

The question then is, just how necessary is another striker at Borussia Dortmund to cover for Haller’s absence? From a depth perspective, the answer is that it would be a clear advantage for Dortmund to add another player to help cover for Haller’s absence. That being said, the main factors to keep in mind would be the circumstances surrounding any potential signing, and how that player would fit into the club long term.

Signing Ekitiké, or a striker of as similar profile, could possibly block Moukoko from taking the opportunity to lead the line in Haller’s absence; a factor of great importance when taking into the account the point at which Moukoko finds himself in his development as player. Moukoko certainly needs to prove himself this season, considering the fact that this will be his third season in Germany’s top flight. Signing Ekitiké would take away what may be a golden opportunity for Moukoko to flourish as a player. While not ideal, there are players that Dortmund can play in the striker position already in the squad (Malen, Adeyemi) should Moukoko fall to injury in Haller’s absence.

In addition to this, signing Ekitiké would complicate matters at the club upon Haller’s return. Dortmund would be faced with the prospect of having three players clamoring for significant minutes; minutes the club would most likely be unable to provide to all three unless Dortmund were to switch the way they play entirely, of if the club are considering Ekitiké flexible enough to slot in out wide as well, which would be bemusing in my opinion.

Dortmund had three strikers this past season with Anthony Modeste in the squad, but it was clear that he was a depth signing, which is a role Ekitiké  might not want to accept. Depth is an important factor for any said looking to challenge for silverware but all three players would be at a point in their careers where they would be demanding time on the pitch. Ekitiké will likely have offers which will prioritize him as a starter, which would benefit the player more long term.

With this in mind however, that doesn’t mean that Dortmund shouldn’t explore the idea of adding another versatile attacker to the squad. On the contrary, Haller’s inevitable absence will likely call for some level of reinforcement. Leaving the backup striker role to either Malen or Adeyemi in this timeframe could be risky, as we can’t say for sure what Dortmund’s injury list will look like in the second half of the season. The club may be sparse for players both out wide and at the striker position, for example, deeming it necessary for Malen or Adeyemi to retain their positions out wide. Adding another versatile attacker who can play both up front and on the wing would be a smart move for the club – especially if the player in question would be willing fight for minutes and earn them based on performances as opposed to coming in with preconceived notions of the amount of time they should have on the pitch.

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The over arching assessment of any potential deal for Ekitiké, or striker for that matter, has to take into account the fee that they would command, his over-arching future at the club once all three strikers are back in Dortmund, and the futures of the players he would competing with. For all the parties involved, a deal seems rather nonsensical due to the aforementioned time on the pitch Ekitiké would likely want assurances on. In the event the player would be willing to join without assurances, then by all means, but until that unlikely agreement is reached the club is better off looking into signing a versatile player open to accepting a depth role.