Borussia Dortmund Transfers: Is Edin Dzeko the Man to Replace Lewandowski?
UEFA Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund have had a marvellous past three seasons or so, with star Polish striker Robert Lewandowski playing a big part in their success which has yielded two Bundesliga titles, and which they hope will be topped off by glory in the final itself.
It will be the end of the road, at least with Dortmund, for one or two of the team though, with Mario Gotze already having agreed a move to rivals Bayern Munich and striker Lewandowski set to follow him out of the Westfalenstadion—quite possibly also to Bayern (via Mirror Football).
While Dortmund will likely receive a sizeable fee for Lewandowski, to go along with the £30 million or so they will earn from the Gotze deal, replacing the No. 9 is a big task for manager Jurgen Klopp if he is to maintain the sort of competitive squad he has built up until now.
I do not know anything of a meeting with Dzeko. But if you think about what will happen to us in the next few years, we have to think about him. But judging by information we have, the wages he is content with technically do not fit ours, as we will not bend. We do not throw about peanuts. Still, we will leave all doors open.
Clearly they are monitoring the Bosnian's availability ahead of making any final decision. Does Dzeko appear a good fit for Dortmund and a reasonable option to replace the goalscoring machine that is Lewandowski?
The argument "for" Dzeko
There are certainly plenty of reasons that seem to make Dzeko a good option.
First of all, the Bosnian is definitely familiar with the German Bundesliga, having spent three-and-a-half seasons with Wolfsburg from 2007 to 2011 prior to his move to Manchester City. During that spell he also proved a big hit as a top striker, averaging more than a goal-every-other-game ratio in the league.
In terms of style, Dzeko is perfectly capable of playing as a lone striker, as Dortmund tend to do in their fluid 4-2-3-1 system.
With the physicality to occupy two defenders and the belief in himself that he should be a regular starter for any top side, an in-form and confident Edin Dzeko is certainly a big handful for defenders to deal with.
His goals record has not quite been as prolific since joining Manchester City, hitting 28 goals in 74 Premier League matches overall, but he is still City's top league scorer this season (12). The continual rotation of the four forwards by manager Roberto Mancini contributes at least in part to the lower goalscoring tallies, though City as a club have indeed scored far fewer goals this term than last.
It is also a bonus that Dzeko is likely to be at least available, if not actively on the fabled transfer list, this summer. With Mario Balotelli gone, City are almost certain to strengthen their front line—and being in and out of the XI already, Dzeko is unlikely to want to hang around even longer to see if he becomes fourth choice or not.
His on-the-ball ability is not restricted to mere finishing, of course. Dzeko is proficient aerially and can use both feet. Though not renowned for his dribbling ability, he can move comfortably with the ball at his feet, and his first-time passes enable him to work well with his attacking teammates when space is in short supply.
Dzeko won't come cheap—City signed him for around €32 million, and his current market value is rated at around €27 million—though it is probable that he won't fetch a high fee if he leaves this summer. Even so, another plus point for Borussia Dortmund is that whatever his price, he is not likely to be as expensive a signing as Lewandowski will be heading in the opposite direction.
Finally, there is also the question of Dzeko's experience; he has played 17 times in the Champions League for City over the past few seasons, scoring five times in the process. He hasn't always been first choice in that regard, but he has been a part of their less-than-successful European squad, getting to know what is required to compete at that level.
The argument "against" Dzeko
It's not a one-way street, analysing Edin Dzeko's suitability.
Lewandowski has proven himself one of the very top strikers in all of Europe over the past few seasons, and Dzeko simply doesn't live up to that kind of standard. He's a good striker, yes, and capable of playing at a high level, but he is not, at first glance, a true match-winner of his own accord as Lewandowski has proven to be.
Much of any success that Dzeko can bring to the club may well be in large part dependent on who else Dortmund bring in. Marco Reus will provide a huge creative thrust, but Gotze's pending absence will be difficult to fill.
Another area in which Dzeko sometimes comes across as lacking is in his mobility; not merely with regard to pace, but in his general off-the-ball movement.
Dzeko at times comes across as cumbersome, un-agile, more reactive than proactive in the build-up of attacks. He will have to show far better than this to fit in with the lightning-fast transition play that Dortmund employ.
Is Edin Dzeko the best potential replacement for Robert Lewandowski?
Consistency has also been a major issue in his time at Manchester City, with Dzeko capable of scoring several goals in a game, followed by putting in a lethargic and listless performance the very next game.
There is, however, a case to suggest that these are issues borne of Dzeko not playing week in, week out with the full confidence of being his manager's first choice.
While at Wolfsburg the Bosnian striker hit the back of the net on a regular basis, but was also playing each and every match. At Manchester City, he has not been afforded this luxury.
Time will tell if Borussia Dortmund consider Dzeko the best fit to replace Robert Lewandowski, but there are certainly plenty of facets to his game which suggest he will be a quality choice. Whether he can be just as effective as the Polish forward will depend in large part on his mentality following any move back to Germany.
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