Is Borussia Dortmund targeting the proper profile of defensive midfielder in Jerdy Schouten?

Borussia Dortmund are allegedly looking to target PSV Eindhoven’s Jerdy Schouten, but is he the proper player for Dortmund to sign?

PSV Eindhoven v FC Twente - Dutch Eredivisie
PSV Eindhoven v FC Twente - Dutch Eredivisie / BSR Agency/GettyImages
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Mats Wieffer, Simon Olsson
SC Heerenveen v Feyenoord - Dutch Eredivisie / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Mats Wieffer, Dortmund's defensive midfield answer:

Wieffer has many of the qualities Dortmund would be looking for in a new defensive midfielder; qualities that would make him a direct upgrade on Can. The Dutchman is cited as being cool and composed on the ball and strong in the air. He also possesses great spacial awareness and anticipation, which is something that Dortmund have sorely lacked in their midfield.

Wieffer’s numbers very much corroborate this assessment this season, which has been a standout one for the Dutchman. Six goals and four assists from across both the Eredivisie and Champions League are very strong numbers for a defensive midfielder, but it’s no surprise considering how well rounded Wieffer’s game is. From an attacking sense, he averages non-penalty goals 0.16 goals per 90 (93rd percentile) and 0.17 assists per 90 (87th percentile). He also averages 7.71 progressive passes per game and 1.67 progressive carries per game, numbers which are much higher than either Schouten’s or Can’s. 

The most impressive part however is that despite being so forward thinking, Wieffer’s defensive game doesn’t suffer because of it. The player has recorded (on average) 2.75 tackles, 1.73 interceptions, 2.07 blocks and wins 2.96 aerial duels per 90 over the course of the last year. The numbers further prove that his special awareness and anticipation allow him to make forays forward without really being a detriment to his team defensively. Taking Emre Can once again as an example, the German does like to push up at times but in doing so leaves Dortmund exposed defensively. 

Wieffer’s style of play would also go a long way in terms of eliminating the ever present issue Dortmund have in terms of linking defense and attack. As Dortmund have had trouble progressing the ball through the middle, a player like Wieffer could be invaluable in terms of making this transition run far more smoothly. 

10 Borussia Dortmund players called up for international duty. dark. Next. 10 Borussia Dortmund players called up for international duty

While it remains to be seen whether Dortmund really go for Schouten as a transfer target, it is clear that there are other options the club should focus on such as Wieffer who offer a more well rounded style of play that could be both more secure and beneficial for the team in the long run. Fixing the deficiencies in midfield could go a long way towards streamlining the way Dortmund play and may bring us back into an era of fluid and successful football once again.