The January transfer window is wide open now, and with Robert Lewandowski having officially announced his transfer to Bayern Munich over the weekend, Borussia Dortmund are in the news as they look to bolster their squad.
Hot topics at BVB include the question of who will replace the prolific Lewandowski, whether or not Ilkay Gundogan will extend his contract, and how the squad will be bolstered ahead of next season considering how squad thinness caused the Ruhr side to implode toward the end of the 2013 calendar year.
Check in here every day this week for all the latest Dortmund transfer news. Click "Begin Slideshow" for a look at the most recent news.
UPDATE, January 10
On his Twitter account, Ruhr Nachrichten reporter Matthias Dersch quoted Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc as having ruled out any January transfers. "We've decided together to do nothing. I'm no fan of winter transfers."
Dersch later Tweeted that winter departures remain a possibility for BVB.
—LAST UPDATE: Friday, January 10—
With Real Madrid reported to be very eager to sign Ilkay Gundogan and Dortmund in desperate need of a striker to replace Robert Lewandowski, Bild reports that BVB could send their prized midielder to the Spanish capitol in exchange for Karim Benzema. Loanee Nuri Sahin, who would otherwise cost €6 million, could be added in the swap to sweeten the pot for the Germans.
Both Gundogan and Benzema have contracts that are set to expire in 2015. The latter earns a reported €8.5 million per season, however, and would not fit into a BVB wage system that currently has Marco Reus (at €4 million) earning less than half the Frenchman's wages. If Real could subsidize Benzema's contract at Dortmund as they did with Raul's deal at Schalke (the club covered €2 million of the Spanish legend's €7 million per-year deal), it's conceivable that Dortmund could be in a position to accept.
Dortmund have not yet given up on extending the 23-year-old's contract, and sporting director Michael Zorc is keen to have clarity on the matter sooner than later.
Spox quotes Kicker as reporting that Zorc wants to begin discussions imminently. The first priority for BVB will be to "explore whether the willingness to sign a contract extension is present."
UPDATE, January 7
The Daily Mail claims Gundogan is on Manchester United's wish list and would cost on the order of £22 million. However, the paper rates the likelihood of a transfer at just 1/5 because Gundogan has not played since August due to a back injury.
As with Reus, it would seem nonsensical for Dortmund to sell a star player in mid-season when they are still alive and well in the Champions League and have just confirmed the loss of Lewandowski.
UPDATE, January 11
Dortmund could swap Gundogan for Karim Benzema, according to Bild. A key detail in that report is that a Bild source revealed that Gundogan has a concrete offer from Real. Please see the Benzema slide for more details.
Dortmund confirmed the signing of Tim Vayrynen from Finnish side FC Honka on Friday. The 20-year-old striker is the top scorer in the Finnish league, with 17 goals in 24 appearances, and he has already earned his first cap for country.
Vayrynen has signed a contract that will run until 2016 and will begin his Dortmund career playing with the club's reserves in the 3. Liga.
Bild reported on Thursday that Juergen Klopp is keen to sign Serge Gnabry from Arsenal. Citing a statement from Klopp that BVB are "looking for different types of players" to replace striker Robert Lewandowski, the paper claimed that Dortmund are indeed considering the 18-year-old winger Gnabry as an alternative.
A product of the Stuttgart academy, Gnabry is valued at €2 million according to Transfermarkt. That rating is sure to change in the coming months, however; since his last appraisal, the player has scored his first Premier League goal. And with the Arsenal squad blighted by injuries, he's likely to be relied upon more and more this spring.
Gnabry has a contract that runs until 2018, and it is difficult to imagine Arsene Wenger allowing the highly rated winger to leave on a full transfer.
In a Wednesday interview with Sport-Bild, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said: "In the summer we must, want and will invest. The true scale remains our secret."
The German news source then speculated on the possibility of several transfers, including Sami Khedira's possible move to the Signal-Iduna Park. The 26-year-old midfielder is unsettled at Real Madrid; in October he revealed his frustration with being scapegoated by fans and the Spanish press. Following a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament in November, Real are set to play without him for the rest of the season; depending on how Los Blancos perform this spring, perhaps he will be found to be disposable.
The report from Sport-Bild nonetheless claims that a move for Khedira, whose contract runs until the end of June, 2015, is unlikely without Ilkay Gundogan moving to Madrid.
Also in the Sport-Bild report, it was claimed that the summer return of Shinji Kagawa is possible. The 24-year-old has had little joy under David Moyes at Manchester United, recording just 1363 minutes played in all competitions for the Red Devils this season. Having failed to live up to expectations in 18 months at Old Trafford, he is expected to leave the club sooner or later.
Although United recently ruled out the possibility of selling Kagawa in January, Moyes was recently reported to have considered the sale of Kagawa, whose contract runs until 2016. Last July, BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said "the door is always open for [Kagawa]" at Dortmund.
Along with Khedira and Kagawa, Sport-Bild's Wednesday report claimed that Dortmund were considering a move for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic, who would cost on the order of €25 million.
In spite of his fine performances for Bayern, Mandzukic has been forced to accept the signing of Robert Lewandowski from this summer. The Croatia international's agent recently said his client is "fully focused on Bayern Munich," however, and that he's "feeling very well in Munich." And Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said that, despite signing Lewandowski on a higher wage, his club is considering even offering Mandzukic an extension.
A year ago, Sport-Bild claimed Edin Dzeko was among Juergen Klopp's top candidates to replace Robert Lewandowski in the summer. BVB opted not to sell the Pole, and the Dzeko rumors ran dry.
In November, Dzeko was again linked with BVB, this time by the British press. It was claimed that the Bosnian was unsettled following Manchester City's signing of Alvaro Negredo. And on Wednesday, Sport-Bild again linked the 28-year-old with a move to the Signal-Iduna Park.
Although he's only played the full 90 minutes in approximately one third of his appearances, Dzeko has scored a respectable 12 goals for City this season. He would likely have to take a pay cut to move to BVB and it's almost certain that City would initially demand a hefty transfer fee. But with his contract set to expire in just 18 months, Dortmund may be able to talk the English side down to a bargain price.
According to the same Sport-Bild report that addressed Khedira, Kagawa, Mandzukic and Dzeko's possible moves to Dortmund, the club will not extend Sebastian Kehl's contract past its expiration date at the end of June.
The captain, who will turn 34 in February, is Dortmund's most senior player and has been at the club since 2001, longer than anyone else in the BVB squad. His next destination is, as of yet, unknown.
According to the Daily Mail, David Moyes is interested in signing a laundry list of players for Manchester United this January. At the top of the list is Marco Reus, whom the publication claims is unlikely to move before the summer when it says a "sizeable release clause" in his contract can first be activated.
The general consensus in German media has long held that Reus' exit clause, in the amount of €35 million, takes effect only in 2015. Bild reported this shortly after the player announced his move to BVB in early 2012, and has stuck to the same narrative ever since. It was recently revealed that BVB are aiming to eliminate the buy-out clause in exchange for a salary boost from €4.5 million to €6 million. Regardless of whether Reus renews his contract, it is unlikely that BVB will sell him unless they are forced to do so.
Lewandowski's departure means Dortmund are in dire need of a new striker. According to Kicker, BVB are considering Standard Liege forward Michy Batshuayi—along with Adrian Ramos and Christian Benteke—to replace the Pole as the club's attacking focal point.
A Belgium under-21 international, the 20-year-old Batshuayi has scored 18 goals in 37 games in all competitions for club and country. Rated at €5 million by Transfermarkt, he has a contract that will expire in 2018.