Schalke and Hertha Berlin are among the clubs looking to boost their striking options in January.
1. Schalke take a chance on Belhanda
Schalke’s first foray into the January transfer market, a six-month loan deal for Dynamo Kiev attacking midfielder, Younes Belhanda, constitutes something of a dice-rolling exercise.
While the 25-year-old French-born Moroccan international is excellent on the ball and can pose a threat behind the strikers or on either flank, he is neither consistent or disciplined and this term at Kiev – his third at the Bilo-Syni (White-Blues) following a 8.5 million euro switch from Montpellier in the summer of 2013 – largely has been surplus to requirements.
A Ligue 1 winner with Montpellier in 2011-12 and voted the best young player in France that same season, Belhanda will not find it as easy to make an impact in the Bundesliga?
He doesn’t speak a word of German and according to some journalists on the Ruhr beat, Schalke coach, Andre Breitenreiter did not originally want him, only reluctantly agreeing when general manager, Horst Heldt forced the issue.
2. Kurt is cut short at Bayern
The term ‘last chance saloon’ definitely applies to the career of highly-gifted 19-year-old winger, Sinan Kurt, who after constantly irritating his bosses at Bayern Munich with his egocentric behaviour and making just one first team appearance, was unceremoniously sold to Hertha Berlin last week.
Considered one of Germany’s most exciting talents, Kurt hit the jackpot 18 months ago, when Bayern controversially prised him away from hometown club, Borussia Mönchengladbach. But in a clear case of too much too young, never really seemed to appreciate his once-in-lifetime opportunity, seemingly more interested in selfies, social media and fashion statements than knuckling down on the training
Reports last summer of him splashing out almost 2,000 euros on a helicopter ride along the Côte d’Azur only added to his playboy image and feeling the youngster was not made of the right stuff, Pep Guardiola banished him to the reserve squad. Hertha are banking on him becoming a reformed character. Now it’s up to him.
3. Stuttgart seek a harder core
Only a point ahead of the Bundesliga’s two direct relegation places, Stuttgart must, as a matter of urgency, become meaner at the back and according to local newspaper, Stuttgarter Zeiting, are scouring depth charts in the Premier League.
Among the targets are Tottenham’s Austrian international, Kevin Wimmer – for whom first eleven chances have been few and far between since arriving at White Hart Lane from Köln last summer – and Chelsea’s Papy Djilobodj, who, in the wake of a £2.5 million switch from French side, Nantes, has only played sixty seconds of pro football for the reigning English champions.
4. Dortmund plan the post-Aubameyang settlement
Should Dortmund fail in their attempts to keep free-scoring striker, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at the Westfalenstadion beyond the end of the current campaign, Croat sports daily, Vecernji List claim to have it on good authority that the Ruhr giants will look to fill the gap with Roma’s Bosnian striker, Edin Dzeko.
Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel, is known to be a keen admirer of the 29-year-old’s ability to lead the line and bearing in mind the latter’s goal-filled spell at Wolfsburg (2007-11), a return to familiar turf could be quite a inducement.
As shown by his poor strike rate in Serie A this term (just three goals in 15 starts) Dzeko is not at his best in a tight, tactical set-up and surely would find it much more to his liking in the decidedly more open Bundesliga.
5. No green, green grass of home for Bas Dost
Following a broad hint from Ajax boss, Frank de Boer, that he was interested in Wolfsburg’s Dutch striker, the player’s agent has moved quickly to rule it out.
“We’ve had no contact and I can’t imagine such a transfer being financially feasible for Ajax,” declared Gunther Neuhaus to German website, Sport1.
Typically Dutch and typically forthright, Dost continues to complain that he is relatively unappreciated by the Wolfsburg hierarchy and if the opportunity was to arise, would jump at the chance of spearheading a Premier League attack.