Ranked: Borussia Dortmund’s Record Signings
After missing out on a first Bundesliga title in 11 years on the final day in excruciating fashion, Borussia Dortmund have made a slow start to the summer transfer window.
The club confirmed last week the arrival of Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer from champions Bayern Munich for a reported €19m fee.
He joins Ramy Bensebaini and Felix Nmecha through the door at Signal Iduna Park, as BVB look towards life without Jude Bellingham, who left for Real Madrid.
Dortmund are renowned for their shrewd business in the transfer market and the incredible profits they reap for stars nurtured in black and yellow.
Sebastian Kehl and the club’s board are reportedly unfinished with incomings this summer, with the Yellow Wall needing to stay patient.
If any more players are recruited, it’s unlikely Edin Terzic will break the bank to do so.
Here is a list of the top 10 Borussia Dortmund record signings, proving exactly why.
(All fees via transfermarkt.com)
10. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar Donetsk – €27.5m (2013)
En route to the 2013 UEFA Champions League final, ‘die Borussen’ took on one of the tournament’s surprise packages – Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Ukrainian giants boasted some top talents such as Fernandinho, Willian, Douglas Costa and Alex Teixeira.
In the first leg, a late Mats Hummels header ensured that his side didn’t leave Donetsk in defeat, with a 2-2 draw leaving all to play for in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the Black and Yellows went onto win.
One of the stars of that Shakhtar team was Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkihtaryan, who ended that season with 34 direct goal involvements in 29 league appearances.
That form was translated by Mkhitaryan across to Germany. The €27.5m paid by ‘die Schwarzgelben’ proved to be a bargain fee for three very strong seasons, though none stronger than the 2015/16 season, where the now 34-year-old registered 11 goals and 20 assists in 31 Bundesliga matches.
Such form was enough to persuade Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to bring him to England the following summer.
His time in the Premier League wasn’t as successful as first hoped, but he has since enjoyed a fruitful stint in Italy, where he remains today at Inter.
9. Abdou Diallo, Mainz – €28m (2018)
AS Monaco academy product Abdou Diallo spent his first full season as a regular senior starter with Mainz in the Bundesliga.
Despite the Rhine club’s struggles that season, Diallo was a standout performer at the back, prompting BVB to pay €28m to secure his signature.
The Senegal international’s stay in Dortmund only lasted a year before PSG splashed a further four million, but the 27-year-old was a regular at the heart of Lucien Favre’s defence as the club pushed Bayern to the wire.
Our Champions League team of the group stages:
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) December 14, 2018
8. Felix Nmecha, Wolfsburg – €30m (2023)
Coming in at number eight is Borussia Dortmund’s first signing for a transfer fee of the 2023 summer window.
In the current transfer market, €30m is not a lot of money, even if it is the club’s (joint) fifth most expensive arrival.
Nmecha was a regular for Wolfsburg last year in his breakthrough season, which he ended with three goals and six assists, heavily contributed to by an excellent winter period when he announced his arrival.
The former Manchester City man’s arrival was met with much controversy due to his social media output, but with that addressed, the Yellow Wall can hope that the 22-year-old will continue to develop finely in North Rhine-Westphalia.
(=) André Schürrle, Wolfsburg – €30m (2016)
World Cup winner André Schürrle earned plenty of plaudits during spells at Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea and Wolfsburg due to his pace and flair on the wings.
Schürrle joined ‘die Schwarzgelben’ for €30m in 2016. Although he showed those skills when on the pitch, his time at Dortmund and his career as a whole were overshadowed by injury, as Christian Pulisic and Ousmane Dembélé made their names instead.
Loan spells at Fulham and Spartak Moscow followed before he hung up his boots at just 29 in 2020. He has since made the news for his involvement in extreme sports with famous ‘ice man’ Wim Hof.
In 2014, André Schürrle won the World Cup in Brazil, scoring 3 goals in 6 games.
6 years later, he retired at the age of 29 after a stint on loan with Spartak Moscow.
He has since found a new direction in life; the Wim Hof method.
He climbed with the Sniezka Mountains, the… pic.twitter.com/yiAgmha0IS
— Football Tweet ⚽ (@Football__Tweet) July 25, 2023
(=) Donyell Malen, PSV Eindhoven – €30m (2021)
Having accumulated a record of 30 goals and 13 assists in 46 Eredivisie matches for PSV, former Arsenal academy player Donyell Malen was one of Europe’s hottest properties in the summer of 2021.
Known for developing young talents, ‘die Borussen’ opted to sign the Dutchman, using the money they made from Jadon Sancho to do so.
The Englishman had been one of the club’s most productive players for the past three seasons and left a large void to fill.
Naturally a striker, Malen couldn’t quite do so. However, in a great season for Edin Terzic’s side, the 24-year-old was a star performer, notching 18 direct goal contributions, as he finally looks like that same player who arrived two years ago.
(=) Karim Adeyemi, RB Salzburg – €30m (2022)
Similarly, Malen’s wing partner for parts of the campaign Karim Adeyemi also struggled initially at Signal Iduna Park.
Boasting an incredible goal record at RB Salzburg, reminiscent of a certain Erling Haaland, the 21-year-old had established himself as one of German football’s brightest talents.
However, the forward struggled to secure a regular role for the most part, until the winning run began midway through the term, where he was in his most productive spell.
Nine goals and six assists is a good tally for Adeyemi to build upon next season. Given his immense potential, €30m could yet prove to be a bargain.
4. Jude Bellingham, Birmingham City – €30.15m (2020)
Spending a world record €30.15m on a 17-year-old from England’s second tier was a decision which raised quite a few eyebrows back in 2020, when Jude Bellingham swapped the blue of Birmingham for the black and yellow of Dortmund.
But looking back, nobody can question it now. In true BVB style, the midfielder was propelled into the first team picture almost immediately and looked instantly at home.
Going on to become one of the finest midfielders on the planet and the Bundesliga player of the year for 2022/23, it’s easy to forget that Bellingham has only just turned 20.
It’s because of this insane potential why Real Madrid splashed over €100m to bring the Englishman to the Bernabeu.
That sees him become the Black and Yellows’ second most expensive departure – another excellent piece of business.
3. Mats Hummels, Bayern Munich – €30.5m (2019)
Borussia Dortmund legend Mats Hummels has been a stalwart of both German football and at Signal Iduna Park for the past decade and a half.
A product of the Bayern Munich academy, the defender joined ‘die Borussen’ in 2008 on loan, before making the move permanent 18 months later for a little over €4m.
Even for the 2009 market, that proved to be a bargain fee, as Hummels was a rock at the heart of Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund defence in the club’s golden era.
His time in black and yellow prompted Bayern to pursue a return for the Germany international, with a €35m sale the ninth most expensive in the club’s history.
But three years later, Hummels couldn’t stay away. After losing his place somewhat at the Allianz Arena, the now 34-year-old was back where he belongs.
The experience and quality he was brought back to provide are skills he still brings to the club today. Only Michael Zorc has played more times for the club.
2. Sébastien Haller, Ajax – €31m (2022)
Just last summer, Edin Terzic completed Borussia Dortmund’s second most expensive transfer of all-time.
With the departure of the outrageously prolific Erling Haaland to Manchester City, Sebastian Kehl and the ‘Schwarzgelben’ board acted promptly to bring in a replacement.
Former Frankfurt and West Ham striker Sébastien Haller arrived for €31m on the back of a phenomenal season with Ajax.
That campaign saw the Ivory Coast international net 34 goals – only Karim Benzema (15) and Robert Lewandowski (13) bettered Haller’s tally of 11 in the UEFA Champions League.
The 29-year-old successfully battled with testicular cancer in his first year as a black and yellow, and ended the season with nine goals, some of which of great importance as the club mounted an impressive title charge.
Now with a full season ahead of him, the Yellow Wall can be excited to see how Haller can build on his debut year.
1. Ousmane Dembélé, Stade Rennais – €35m (2016)
Finally, the most expensive signing in Borussia Dortmund history is also the club’s record sale – Ousmane Dembélé.
An explosive, skilful winger, Dembélé enjoyed an excellent breakthrough season in Ligue 1 as an 18-year-old, which saw him bag 12 goals and set up a further five in 29 appearances for Stade Rennais.
Similarly to Bellingham, €35m initially seemed a risky fee for such a raw talent but with the potential shown at that age, and at that level, with Dortmund’s track record for youth development, it was only going to go one way.
That way was, of course, a resounding success.
The France international scored 10 goals and registered 22 assists in the memorable Thomas Tuchel BVB side which won the 2017 DFB-Pokal, with Dembélé further enhancing his reputation across Europe.
Now 26 years old, he was on the move yet again after just a year at Signal Iduna Park, choosing FC Barcelona of his many possible suitors.
Injuries have been a real hindrance for Dembélé in Spain, meaning he’s yet to pay off that record €135m fee, but his talent is still clear to see and he remains one of the best wingers around, with many years ahead of him still.
Borussia Dortmund are one of the most well-ran clubs in world football and that is evident in their record signings list.
For a club of this stature to have €35m as its record transfer fee is extraordinary in the modern age.
And when you compare this list with the record sales list, the profit this club makes due to its expert recruitment and development is remarkable.
Some good business has already been done during this transfer window and that will undoubtedly continue for years to come.