With Borussia Dortmund currently in the midst of a critical portion of their season, the holes in both the starting 11 and the bench are becoming apparent once again. Along with these holes, under-performing players are also being put under pressure as their lack of or inconsistent contributions become more of a hindrance on their team's overall performance.
One such player is Donyell Malen. Malen was (rightfully) hailed for his performances in the second half of last season; performances that largely contributed to the teams renaissance and climb up the table that *almost* resulted in their first Bundesliga title in over a decade.
Even into this current season, we’ve seen some of Malen’s best performances in black and yellow, with the Dutch internationals goals playing a large part in making sure Dortmund took crucial points from games he featured in. These contributions make it seem like a rather harsh statement to consider replacing Malen out on the wing for BVB, and yet despite them there is something crucial missing from Donny’s game that makes him an exciting yet frustrating player to watch. That something would be consistency.
Last season, we took a look at whether or not keeping hold of Malen was in Dortmund’s best interest. One of the key points had to do with whether or not Malen could convince the club, as well as himself, that he can play consistently in the role the club have fashioned for him. While it seemed that, by the end of last season, things were oving in the right direction, Malen's inconsistencies have persisted. A strong end to last season coupled with a very strong start this season have shown the type of player Malen can be, but the other important thing to note is the amount of “false dawns” Malen has had while in Dortmund’s colors. They are numerous and equally frustrating, leading to a sporadic level of goal contributions not befitting of a player starting for a club like Dortmund.
In addition to this, with the player allegedly unhappy playing the role Edin Terzić and the club have asked him to fill, it would seem that both the player and club are mutually justified if this search for an exit truly comes to fruition. Malen's time at Dortmund has been marred by a plethora of misses in recent months, both in the Bundesliga as well as the Champions League that could have changed the complexion of games had they gone in. Malen's inconsistency has been costly, and perhaps starting fresh would benefit both the player and the club in equal measure.
As for where Malen could possibly depart to, there has been interest in the player from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United in recent months. Sky report that Dortmund would want no less than 30 million Euros for the Dutch international's services.
While I would certainly not be averse to having Malen see out the rest of the season, his performances do raise concerns over whether he is the player Dortmund want out wide long term. A potential separation in the winter transfer window could possibly allow Dortmund to add a player who, in the long term, may prove a more effective mainstay, and for Malen to seek a new start beyond the Bundesliga.