Borussia Dortmund have developed a reputation as the go-to club for young players wanting to make good on their potential, but also for being a selling club that can never keep hold of said players.
Jude Bellingham has become the latest up-and-coming hot-shot to wave goodbye to Dortmund after signing as a teenager and blossoming into one of the most promising midfielders in the world in the time since.
The Englishman has completed a move to Real Madrid in a deal worth an initial £88.5million, merely the latest in a string of big-money sales made by the German giants.
While it is frustrating for Dortmund fans having to see their club constantly sell their best players, they’ve developed a knack for reinvesting intelligently and crucially selling at a good time for all involved.
So, who are their biggest sales, and how have they fared since making the mega-money switch?
Erling Haaland – £51m (2022)
Let’s have it right, agents fees and everything else people try to add on does not count. Every transfer involves them, yet they’re never considered. Manchester City pulled off one of the bargains of the century, here.
Robbed Dortmund blind. Completely. Haaland came to England, scored 52 goals in his first season with the club and won a treble. For £51m. That’s insane.
Even if City are resigned to selling him three years down the line, they’ll make a significant profit. Daylight robbery.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £56m (2018)
In what was considered a huge coup for Arsenal, the Gunners completed a deal for Aubameyang halfway through their 2017-18 campaign.
The Gabonese forward started brightly, continuing on from his exceptional form in Germany that had seen him become one of the most highly-rated strikers in Europe, winning the Premier League golden boot in 2018-19.
A brilliant start eventually turned into a disappointing end, though, with Aubameyang the subject of a number of disciplinary issues, losing his captaincy and eventually being released in February 2022.
Christian Pulisic – £57.6m (2019)
Chelsea sealed a deal to sign Pulisic in January 2019, but immediately loaned him back to Dortmund until the end of the season so that he’d arrive ready ahead of a new campaign, with a full pre-season behind him.
Four years on, though, the American has failed to truly live up to the hype he was once afforded and never really managed to become more than a squad member in London, despite showing signs of his best stuff in spells here and there.
He’s expected to leave Chelsea this summer, with Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali trying to clear the decks after signing every player on the planet, but he’ll be leaving a Champions League winner if he does.
Hasn’t quite go to plan in London, but every cloud and what not.
Jadon Sancho – £73m (2021)
In what was one of the longest and most boring transfer sagas in football history, Manchester United finally ended a two-year pursuit of Sancho in 2021 when they managed to tempt Dortmund to part ways with him for £73m.
On the surface, it was a good deal. Dortmund had previously held out for upwards of £100m, but United were patient and managed to get a cut-price.
The only issue? It’s now been two years and Sancho only seems to be going backwards. He looks increasingly timid and is still struggling to make a significant impact. And with Erik ten Hag now in the hot seat, time is running out.
He needs to find his feet soon.
Jude Bellingham – £88m (2023)
Heavily linked with a move back to England after moving to Dortmund aged 17, Bellingham ripped up the script and chose football heritage instead.
At just 19 years old, £88m already looks like somewhat of a bargain. Bellingham has arrived in the capital and taken the illustrious Real Madrid number five shirt, ready to ball out on the biggest stage.
Watch this space.
Ousmane Dembele – £96.8m (2017)
Five years on, and the jury is still out on this one. Will probably still be out long after Dembele has hung up his boots.
£96.8m doesn’t tell the full story, with the deal to sell Dembele to Barcelona potentially costing La Blaugrana £135.5m in total. In the time since, he’s shown the best of the best and the worst of the worst.
It’s not very often that we see the Frenchman stealing headlines like we expected when he first made the move, but at the same time, he’s been plagued by a series of incredibly unfortunate injuries.
Barcelona, despite their financial difficulties, seem keen to keep him at the club and make sure he fulfils his potential, which probably tells us everything we need to know about how good he could be.