The world still awaits the announcement of Jadon Sancho officially joining Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund. The deal is done, but an announcement seems to be held up by details. One such detail could be Borussia Dortmund’s ongoing negotiations to sign Dutch striker Donyell Malen from Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven.
On Thursday, various reports indicated that a deal to sign the 22-year-old striker neared its final stages. Transfermarkt reported that Dortmund had already agreed on personal terms with the forward. Malen is expected to sign a long-term deal that will run until 2026.
Agreeing on personal terms with the forward has been a big step. Malen had been in demand after the European Championships. Various clubs, including English giants Liverpool, were interested in the forward. But Dortmund’s close relationship with agent Mino Raiola might trump the negotiations with any club in the end.
In fact, Raiola seems to be pretty much in charge of ensuring a deal between PSV and another club goes through smoothly. PSV technical director John de Jong has pretty much admitted this much in an interview with Voetbal International. “Mino Raiola, who is their agent, is keeping us up-to-date,” de Jong said when asked about Malen and Denzel Dumfries. Both players are now on a leave of absence to clear their futures. “They know what we want, and we have given the players the freedom to talk to other clubs. Should they find an agreement, then those clubs will have to approach us. We have not received an official offer, but that can change quickly.”
Germany’s Sport Bild has reported that both clubs are currently about $6m apart in their evaluation. Dortmund is currently willing to pay around $25-27 million. PSV wants Malen’s market value price as determined by Transfermarkt. The striker is valued at $33 million. Both sides are, however, optimistic that a compromise can be found and once that deal is struck, expect the dominoes to fall for other transfers as well.
That first domino will be Sancho. Despite playing in a different role, Malen will take up Sancho’s roster slot in Dortmund. As has been speculated, the striker will not be a replacement for Erling Haaland—Dortmund remains very much reluctant to sell the Norwegian.
Dortmund could very well sign another winger—Noni Madueke is an option but might not be signed until next season—but for now, Malen is expected to fill the void in terms of scorer points that Sancho will leave behind. Judging from his numbers in the Eredivisie, Malen has the potential to fill that void. The striker scored 19 goals and eight assists for PSV in 32 Eredivisie games last season—keep in mind, though, those numbers do not always translate well to Germany.
It is also an indication that new head coach Marco Rose could somewhat change how Dortmund has played in the past. Judging from his time in Gladbach and Salzburg, Rose prefers to play with more than one center-forward—or players with the physical presence of a number 9; Marcus Thuram is a good example.
A more varied approach is, therefore, likely. Rose, in fact, will very much try to take away from Dortmund’s reliance on Haaland’s goals. In Youssoufa Moukoko, the Black and Yellows have a third striker that could also be thrown into a 4-3-3 attack with three powerful forwards or a 4-2-2-2 formation playing the typical Red Bull system with Haaland and Malen at the top and two wingers on each side.
Malen knows the later system quite well. At PSV, Malen played under head coach Roger Schmidt, who, like Rose, is a previous Red Bull Salzburg head coach. It is another factor that could help BVB as well, Haaland is also familiar with this system played by Red Bull clubs, and the two should get used to each other very quickly should Dortmund be able to wrap up the deal.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth