While many clubs would understandably be frustrated at consistently losing to those higher up in the pecking order, the inevitable transfers make them much easier to manage, says Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.
“This is the only way for us because when a player performs very well, we have to fight against the big, big, big clubs with the oligarchs and Arab states behind them,” Watzke told CNN senior sports analyst. Darren Lewis.
And this fight we can’t win, but we can win a fight for an 18 year old player, like Jude Bellingham, because this player loves playing at Borussia Dortmund because we always have 80,000 spectators, it’s a very good atmosphere and the club knows how to handle young people.
“This is our way and alright we have a good department that checks the young players every day, but it’s also very important if you have the player here, you have to develop it and I think it works … most of the time, it works.”
Watzke has no illusions about where Dortmund are in the modern football hierarchy.
The club has nurtured – and then sold – many of Europe’s biggest and most expensive stars in recent years; Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jadon Sancho, Mario Götze, Mats Hummels, Ousmane Dembélé and Christian Pulisic are among the players who have worn the famous yellow and red jerseys.
Although Watzke understands that high player turnover is part of the business, there is still a human being behind a transfer fee and on some occasions healthy is more difficult than others.
“Sometimes, it’s a little bit more exciting,” Watzke admits. “He It was very emotional for me when Mats Hummels told me in 2016 that he will leave the club after seven or eight years, I think, because it has been a long time and we have had a very special relationship.
But sometimes the players stay at Borussia Dortmund for one, two, three years, and in this period the emotions are not that deep and it is normal in football that the players come, the players go and if they want to go, ok.
“Sometimes it’s a good deal, sometimes it’s not that good. When we sold Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona after a short time, it was a very good deal. When Robert Lewandowski left us with no transfer fees, it wasn’t a good deal. . but this is football “.
It would appear now that Haaland is next to leave the club.
The 21-year-old has scored 85 goals in 88 games since joining RB Salzburg in 2020, breaking numerous Bundesliga and Champions League records along the way.
Manchester City appear set to abide by Haaland’s € 75m ($ 79m) release clause – a bargain given his talent and current transfer share climate – and beat some of Europe’s biggest clubs at the his signature, including Real Madrid. Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain.
On the day of CNN’s interview with Watzke (April 26), Dortmund’s chief executive admitted that he didn’t know if Haaland would be leaving during the European summer transfer window. What he knew for sure, however, if Haaland left, Dortmund will continue to compete as he always has.
“It’s a decision for Erling,” Watzke said. “Erling, you know, he has an exit clause and he has to decide whether we want to take this clause or not and he has time to give us his decision. When the time is ready, he will.
“But we [Dortmund] We have been playing football for 113 years and for 111 years we have been playing without Erling Haaland. We had Robert Lewandowski and then he left us in 2014, but we’ve been playing football in ’15, ’16, ’17 until now.
“Then came Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and then Erling Haaland and you can be sure that if Erling makes the decision to leave us, we will find the next one. [player] 100 percent. “