Batshuayi in, Auba out; Dortmund dominates deadline day
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund dominated the end of the transfer window in Germany with a flurry of activity that saw star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave and Michy Batshuayi take his place on Wednesday.
The Bundesliga club also made what it called a “big concession” on the transfer fee to allow defender Marc Bartra to go to Real Betis after a tumultuous Bundesliga spell, while it signed promising winger Sergio Gomez from Barcelona.
Bartra was injured after being hit with shrapnel in the bomb attack on Dortmund’s team bus before a Champions League game last April. The 27-year-old Spaniard said he had feared for his life.
Bartra played 49 competitive games for Dortmund after joining from Barcelona in 2016, but the club’s winter signing of Swiss defender Manuel Akanji from FC Basel increased the competition for a starting place.
Belgium striker Batshuayi arrived on loan from Chelsea until the end of season following Aubameyang’s departure for Arsenal in a deal worth 63.75 million euros ($80 million) - a record for the Premier League club.
The 24-year-old Batshuayi found playing time limited at Chelsea after joining from Marseille for a reported 40 million euros ($50 million) in 2016. But Dortmund pointed to his effectiveness in front of goal with a goal on average every 88.5 minutes on the pitch in 2017.
Batshuayi would do well to compensate for Aubameyang, the Bundesliga’s top-scorer last season with 31 goals. The Gabon striker departed after suffering a breakdown in relations with Dortmund, which ultimately sanctioned him for disciplinary reasons three times in a little over a year.
“Sorry for everything that happened in the last month,” Aubameyang posted on his Instagram account. “But I wanted to move already last summer and it didn’t work out, but now it had to. Perhaps I didn’t pick the best way, but everyone knows that Auba is crazy - and yeah, I’m a crazy guy, hahahaha!”
Aubameyang scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games, 141 goals in 213 games altogether, for Dortmund after joining from French side St. Etienne in 2013.
“After the unpleasant events of the last weeks, we prefer to remember that the story of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was a success over more than four years,” Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said. “He has done great things for Dortmund in this time.”
Defender Neven Subotic left Dortmund for Saint-Etienne last week, while Danish attacking midfielder Jacob Bruun Larsen joined Stuttgart on loan for the rest of the season.
Dortmund announced the signing of the 17-year-old Gomez, an attacking midfielder, on Tuesday. He will play for Dortmund’s under-19 team until the end of the season, and join the senior team in July. Gomez was voted the second best player at the Under-17 World Cup in India in October.
“Gomez is undoubtedly one of the best players in the world for his age group,” Zorc said.
Just before the deadline Wednesday, Leipzig signed English midfielder Ademola Lookman on loan from Everton to the end of the season.
English defender Reece Oxford returned to Borussia Moenchengladbach for another loan spell from West Ham. The 19-year-old originally joined ’Gladbach in the summer but the Premier League club had asked for his return.
“We’re delighted we managed to bring Reece back,” ’Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl said. “He showed his great potential at the end of the first half of the season and we’re convinced he’ll help us for the second half.”
Wolfsburg boosted its goal-threat by signing Swiss attacking midfielder Admir Mehmedi from Bayer Leverkusen.
“Mehmedi fits perfectly with our needs,” said Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbe, whose team has only four Bundesliga wins in 20 games.
Werder Bremen boosted its chances of avoiding relegation by signing defender Sebastian Langkamp from Hertha Berlin and 21-year-old Kosovo international Milot Rashica from Dutch club Vitesse Arnheim.
Schalke reinforced its defense with the return of Abdul Rahman Baba on loan for 1½ seasons from Chelsea. The club had already secured the signing of Croatian forward Marko Pjaca from Juventus.
Bayern Munich also moved early in the transfer window, signing Sandro Wagner from Hoffenheim as a back-up to forward Robert Lewandowski. Wagner scored his first Bayern goal last weekend in a rout of his former club.