Recruitment, Development, Profit – Borussia Dortmund’s Record Sales
German football boasts a remarkable fan culture; a ticket to a match and a pint of beer can cost less than a programme sometimes does in England.
Fans are well represented in the hierarchies of the clubs due to the country’s unique ‘50+1 rule’ enforcing majority supporter ownership.
But in order to remain sustainable, many Bundesliga sides have become selling clubs.
Borussia Dortmund are a prime example.
BVB are known for developing top young talents and selling them on for major profit.
And just weeks after the club’s final day heartbreak, the league’s player of the year Jude Bellingham will become the latest example.
Real Madrid have reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign Jude Bellingham.#RMCF are set to pay #BVB in excess of €100million (£86m) in what will be one of the highest-value transfers in the history of both clubs.
More from @David_Ornstein
— The Athletic | Football (@TheAthleticFC) June 7, 2023
An announcement by the club confirmed that Real Madrid had agreed to pay €103 million for the Englishman.
This comes after plenty of speculation over the midfielder’s future and after three years of fantastic service at Signal Iduna Park, following his €30.15 million move from Birmingham City at just 17 years old.
Leaving for over €100 million, there is only one player who was sold on for more.
Here is a ranking of the club’s top 10 record sales.
10th: Abdou Diallo to PSG (2019)
Fee: €32 million
Borussia Dortmund has agreed with @PSG_English on the transfer of defender Abdou Diallo.
We thank Abdou for his efforts and wish him the best of luck in the future pic.twitter.com/LCesOsEXJL
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) July 16, 2019
A product of the Monaco academy, Diallo’s career saw mass change in a short space of time. The defender joined Belgian side Zulte-Waregem on loan in 2015, before returning to Monaco, only to move to Germany with Mainz in 2017.
After just a year there, he moved to ‘die Schwarzgelben’ in 2018 and played a key role as the club pushed Bayern to the wire.
But his stay was short-lived again as he was off to French giants PSG only 12 months later. He became a DFB-Pokal winner with RB Leipzig on loan this year.
9th: Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich (2016)
Fee: €35 million
Hummels came through the ranks at Bayern, before joining ‘die Borussen’ in 2009 after an initial loan spell.
He then became a stalwart at the heart of the BVB defence in the club’s golden era, as Jürgen Klopp led his team to consecutive Bundesliga titles, a Pokal and a Champions League final.
After six years, the defender made the return to Munich, only to find himself back in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2019. He has since moved into second place in the club’s all-time appearance rankings.
8th: Mario Götze to Bayern Munich (2013)
Fee: €37 million
A man that made that switch to the Allianz Arena so infamous, Mario Götze was the Yellow Wall’s star-boy before he swapped black and yellow for red.
The attacking midfielder was named Golden Boy in 2011 and was selected in two Bundesliga teams of the season.
But in 2013, the Bavarian giants triggered his release clause to take him to the treble winners. After just a season, rather unforgettably, the then 22-year-old scored the goal to win Germany the World Cup.
July 2014: The World Cup final is a time where the big names usually make their mark. Zidane. Ronaldo. Iniesta. Most subs don’t change the game. Most subs don’t score the winner. Mario Götze changed that.pic.twitter.com/XtYtpxNqIp
— COPA90 (@Copa90) June 3, 2021
He returned to Signal Iduna Park in 2016 before joining PSV and Eintracht Frankfurt, where he remains today.
7th: Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United (2016)
Fee: €42 million
Armenia star Henrikh Mkhitaryan had impressed in the Champions League for Shakhtar Donetsk before he signed for ‘die Borussen’ in 2013.
It was in the Bundesliga where he really made his name, claiming 90 direct goal contributions in 140 matches, signing off with 31 in 31 Bundesliga matches in his final season.
€42 million was the price Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United paid to bring the midfielder to England. He has since played for Arsenal, Roma and Inter, who face Manchester City in the Champions League final this weekend.
6th: Erling Haaland to Manchester City (2022)
Fee: €60 million
Lining up against him will be Erling Haaland, City’s devastating number nine, who moved to the Premier League just last summer for a release clause of €60 million.
One of the most iconic and prolific forwards of this generation and generations to come, the Norwegian has blitzed all before him throughout his whole career and that was no different at Dortmund.
A fee that low has certainly proved to be a bargain for the Premier League champions, as Haaland has blitzed the league’s record for most goals in a single season.
Erling Haaland is the youngest player to win the European Golden Shoe since a 20-year-old Ronaldo in 1996-97 pic.twitter.com/MPXCEtWaEi
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) June 7, 2023
5th: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal (2018)
Fee: €63.75 million
Kicking off the top five is another pacy, prolific frontman.
Gabon legend Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed for BVB from Saint-Etienne for just €13 million in 2013.
141 goals and 213 games later, the club made a €50 million profit on the striker, after four and a half years of outrageous goalscoring antics in black and yellow.
He’s had his ups and downs since but the now 33-year-old continued to deliver at Arsenal and Barcelona, and is likely to leave Chelsea this summer.
4th: Christian Pulisic to Chelsea (2018)
Fee: €64 million
Another man who could be leaving Stamford Bridge in 2023, Christian Pulisic rose to stardom under Thomas Tuchel with Dortmund, after the American came to Germany at 17 years old.
The winger became a regular starter for ‘die Schwarzgelben’ and left the club with 45 direct goal contributions in 127 appearances.
Chelsea acquired the services of a 21-year-old ‘Captain America’ for €250k more than Aubameyang’s departure fee – major profit for the club once more.
3rd: Jadon Sancho to Manchester United (2021)
That guy Sancho pic.twitter.com/QxUqSJlzPg
— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) March 31, 2022
Fee: €85 million
Taking the bronze medal in the first podium position is another deal involving a Manchester club and a young talent sold on for megabucks by Borussia Dortmund.
But going back to the start of this story, we see the other Manchester club; Jadon Sancho left City in 2017 at 17 years – a bold call.
However, that was a call that proved to be very much the right one.
The electric Englishman was a phenomenon in the Bundesliga and once he’d broken through, there was no going back as the winger continued to put up astounding numbers, dazzling defenders week-in week-out.
United swooped in after Sancho netted twice in the 2021 Pokal final and the now 23-year-old couldn’t say no. Things haven’t quite worked out since but this man was a hell of a player in black and yellow.
2nd: Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid (2023)
Fee: €103 million
In second place: the deal which generated the idea for this very article.
OFFICIAL: Borussia Dortmund have confirmed Jude Bellingham deal done with Real Madrid.
⚪️ €103m fee plus bonuses. Add-ons can amount to 30% of the fixed amount.
⚪️ Agreement signed between the clubs, same for Jude who signed until June 2029.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 7, 2023
Breaking the €100 million barrier is Jude Bellingham – the very definition of teenage sensation.
Signing for Dortmund at just 17 years old from Birmingham City, where his squad number is now retired, nobody expected the midfielder to become a regular so soon.
But boasting maturity beyond his years with excellent skills across all areas of the pitch, in today’s market a nine-figure sum was always going to be necessary to prise the Bundesliga player of the year away from Edin Terzic.
His incomprehensible development as a ‘Borusse’ has made him ready to become a galactico. What a career he has ahead of him.
1st: Ousmane Dembele to Barcelona (2017)
Fee: €140 million
Finally, in first place, the player Borussia Dortmund received the highest transfer fee for: Ousmane Dembele.
A wonderkid at Rennes in France, Dembele signed for Thomas Tuchel’s BVB at 19 years of age.
The Frenchman spent just a season in black and yellow but what a year it was.
10 goals and 21 assists in 37 starts saw the winger explode onto the scene, establishing himself as one of world football’s most exciting talents.
One of those goals came in the club’s victorious Pokal final in 2017, capping off a successful season, where he formed part of a formidable trio with Pulisic and Aubameyang.
As part of Barcelona’s ruthless spending spree, the Catalans splashed €140 million to bring him to the Nou Camp. Injuries have stalled his growth since but as shown at the World Cup in Qatar, there’s still a top player there.
This ranking barely touches the surface of Borussia Dortmund’s incredible youth development, recruitment and transfer structure.
Borussia Dortmund know how to do business pic.twitter.com/ZdWRQFnyRo
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 21, 2020
To have a track record of development boasting such names is quite simply astounding and something to be very proud of.
It’s something that makes the club one of the neutrals’ favourites worldwide.