Borussia Dortmund II left back Prince Aning has struggled to impose himself since joining Borussia Dortmund from Ajax last summer.
For many a season now Borussia Dortmund have shown a meticulous ability to pilfer other club’s of promising youth talent only to foster their growth in their own academy. Manchester City’s academy has seen quite a few players jump ship and end up in Dortmund’s own youth ranks, as have players from Ajax, with Jadon Sancho, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Julian Rijkhoff just to name a few. Ajax also saw their hold on young left back Prince Aning slip as the player made the move to Dortmund for a fee of 310,000 euros last summer.
Aning arrived in Dortmund as a very bright prospect, and spectators were able to get a taste of his ability during last years pre-season. Aning showed pace, the ability to dribble at opponents, and even displayed an eye for goal, memorably burying a powerful shot past Lüner SV’s keeper in the test match against the Wstfalenliga 2 side. His performance gave the impression that he could also play out on the wing if necessary.
Aning’s skill on the ball was exciting, and made it look as if Dortmund had landed yet another diamond in the rough that would eventually make waves in the Bundesliga for the first team. Since his arrival however, the Dutch youth international has had a very quiet spell with the clubs second team. Ankle issues throughout August of last year led to an eventual 46 day stretch away from the pitch that spanned from September to the end of October. This certainly did not help the youngster settle in, but 16 appearances for BVB II only yielded 511 minutes and one assist to show for that time on the field.
The player has met with the club internally, per RN, to discuss his future and the sporting situation he finds himself in. The good news is that the player still has the chance to impress and improve on what was a lackluster first season. I would also find it very surprising if the club decided to give up on the player after one season.
The question then is, what does the future hold for Aning? The answer in the short term is likely yet another season with the second team, where the player will likely do his best to assert himself and make either the left back or left wing position his own. In the long term however, depending on how he does in Germany’s third tier, a loan away to the 2. Bundesliga would likely be a good step for the player, as this would gradually introduce him to the professional level and give him a taste of what the top tier will eventually be like.
The hope is that Aning does develop and capitalize on the potential we’ve seen only glimpses of, particularly as fullback is a position that the club may need reinforcements in over the course of the next couple years. So far this season, Prince Aning was involved in pre-season preparation and scored against Westphalia Rhynern in the dying embers of the game. He is still a player that could be one to watch for Dortmund in coming years, as long as he is able to really break through and show the club that the potential they saw in him was more than momentary.