Borussia Dortmund Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of December 23
There now is time for BVB to recharge and prepare for the second half of the season. When the Bundesliga resumes in January, the Ruhr outfit can expect to have Ilkay Gundogan and Mats Hummels back in action following an extended spell on the sidelines for each player.
January also means that the transfer window will be open, offering the chance for Dortmund to bolster their squad.
What moves, if any, will BVB make during the winter? Click "Begin Slideshow" for a roundup of all the latest rumors and transfer news.
—LAST UPDATE: Saturday, December 28—
The fact that Dortmund are in the market for a replacement for striker Robert Lewandowski is well known by now. According to the agent of Aleksandar Mitrovic, BVB are interested in signing the 19-year-old Anderlecht forward.
German source Spox has cited a report in Croatian Sport in which the player's agent said: "Borussia scouts were at Anderlecht's games to find a possible successor for Robert Lewandowski."
Mitrovic was named the best player at the 2013 U19 European Championship, won by his Serbia. He moved to Anderlecht from Partizan for €5 million and has since scored nine goals in 14 appearances in the Jupiler Pro League.
Earlier in December, Marca reported that Ilkay Gundogan was "bound for [Real] Madrid." Their narrative changed on Friday.
According to the Spanish publication, the fact that the midfielder has not played a minute of football since mid-August is a concern for the Blancos. Although Real secured a right of first refusal in their loan of Nuri Sahin to BVB, they may no longer be as convinced by the 23-year-old following a back injury that saw him miss nearly the entire first half of the season. The report concluded that Real will continue to monitor Gundogan closely as he makes his return in January.
UPDATE: Saturday, December 28
"Madrid's interest in my son is considerable and they want to negotiate for him. But at the moment, we can't do anything until Ilkay has completely recovered from his back injury.
"When he is playing regular football we can begin talks."
The report also claimed Dortmund had in April offered Gundogan a contract extension until 2017, but the player had declined.
According to a report from NTV Spor, Galatasaray are keen to sign young defender Koray Gunter. The 19-year-old center-back made his Bundesliga debut during the fall campaign, but that two-minute appearance remains his only experience at a professional level.
Marian Sarr, some five months Gunter's junior, was preferred over the former Germany U19 international when Dortmund fell short of center-backs due to injuries and suspensions. And if his situation does not change, Gunter may well look for a move when his contract at BVB ends in June of 2014.
The NTV Spor report claims Galatasaray are considering bidding for Gunter in January; another option is to simply wait for him to arrive for free in the summer.
On Thursday, the Daily Mail ran a report with the catchy headline: "£40m and Reus is yours! United boss Moyes told to break the bank if he wants to sign Dortmund ace Marco in January."
According to the report, Manchester United's top transfer target is BVB star Marco Reus. The 24-year-old is without a buyout clause until 2015, when a €35 million fee will be sufficient to render Dortmund powerless to block a transfer should the player agree to move to a club willing to offer that amount. But the report claims that an unnamed informant revealed a £40 million offer should be sufficient to coerce BVB to let Reus go.
Curiously, the last paragraph of that report states that a hurdle Moyes faces in making January signings is that Champions League contenders are "reluctant to sell their most prized assets."
Dortmund remain in contention for the Champions League trophy in mid-season and would certainly benefit from keeping Reus (who is cup-tied and would not be eligible to compete for any other team in Europe's greatest club tournament this season), who was directly involved in five goals in BVB's last four matches in their run to the Champions League final last season.
Although Robert Lewandowski has not yet officially announced where he will play next season, all arrows point to Bayern Munich.
However, if there was any doubt as to where the Pole will ply his trade, Franz Beckenbauer made his position clear.
When asked by TZ whether he would like for Lewandowski to join Bayern, the club legend said, per Sport1:
"Yes, I'd like to see him here."
The Kaiser's position was that Lewandowski would be a good fit; that although Bayern have a great team, "you can always improve something."
There has long been speculation linking Lewandowski with a move to Bayern, and a move could be announced in January.