With the transfer window still open for a little over two weeks, Borussia Dortmund are looking to do some business.
Despite winning both practice matches during the Dubai training camp comfortably—they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 on Tuesday and South Korean champions Jeonbuk 4-1 on Friday—Thomas Tuchel's squad looks a little thin, especially in the attacking ranks.
The 42-year-old admitted as much after Friday's game, per Jorg Weiler of German tabloid Bild (link in German), saying he believes the club will add a player or two in January. Tuchel cited the large number of midweek fixtures he'll have to navigate from February on, noting that the Black and Yellows want to challenge in all competitions and thus need some reinforcements.
The rumour mill is running hot with BVB seemingly linked to a new player every day. We'll present two of those players below.
The most persistent rumour at this point centres on FSV Mainz playmaker Yunus Malli. Bild initially reported Dortmund's interest in the 23-year-old (link in German, subscription required), and local paper Ruhr Nachrichten, the most trustworthy source of information regarding Dortmund's transfer dealings, has since confirmed that report.
Malli was one of the Bundesliga's top performers in 2015, scoring 14 goals in the calendar year for the 05ers. He played under Tuchel at Mainz, which should mean the Black and Yellows would know exactly what kind of player they'd add in him. However, Malli only really exploded after Tuchel's tenure at the Coface Arena.
He debuted for Turkey's national team in November 2015 after going through Germany's youth outfits. His Turkey career could possibly be a roadblock for a transfer in the winter. He's an undisputed starter at Mainz and could therefore be hesitant about moving to a much bigger club six months before the UEFA Euros in France.
Malli would definitely be a strong addition to Dortmund's squad. He's technically gifted, a very good dribbler and a goal threat—he creates for himself and others, as football writer Michael Caley's graphic shows.
He can play as a No. 10 and as a secondary striker. The 23-year-old seems a bit too slow to regularly play on the wings, however, and that's where Dortmund need reinforcements the most.
According to a report from Jochen Tittmar of Spox.com (link in German), Malli has a release clause in the summer, so one would assume Mainz won't generally rule out a move in the winter: They'll likely lose him in six months anyway, so a good offer might persuade them to sell now.
Weiler mentioned that Dortmund would have to pay at least €12 million to get him in January.
Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmolenko featured in the "fantasy XI of players linked with Dortmund in the last 12 months" we put together earlier this month, which tells you this isn't the first time the Black and Yellows have been rumoured to be after the Dynamo Kiev man.
In the current transfer window, SportBild's Heiko Ostendorp initially reported Dortmund's interest in the 26-year-old (link in German). His coach at Kiev, former Tottenham striker Sergei Rebrov, admitted this week that Yarmolenko could leave the club, per Twitter account FutbolUkraine.
B/R's Matt Jones highlighted some of his strengths earlier this week: "Tall, elegant and left-footed, Yarmolenko is a very awkward customer for defenders to cope with on the right flank." The Ukraine international is very skilful and has a devastating finish.
He looks like a potential difference-maker, and his Goalimpact, which seeks to depict a player's worth in correlation to his team's goal difference, suggests that observation is correct.
For Dortmund, signing Yarmolenko would be a coup. Not only would they get a starting-calibre winger in the fold—something they could well come to need in 2016, considering Marco Reus' injury history—Yarmolenko could also serve as a back-up to star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He'd come at a price—Ostendorp speculates Kiev will ask for €30 million—but Dortmund can certainly afford that. Signing a player of that quality in the winter would be a real statement of intent, which could also play a role in contract negotiations with BVB's own stars, such as Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan or Henrikh Mkhitaryan.