Ultimatum for Youssoufa Moukoko, no hurry for Marco Reus and Mats Hummels - extending expiring contracts is just as difficult for Borussia Dortmund this season as fighting for points.
Above all, the talks with young star Moukoko, which have been going on for months, are becoming more and more of a game of patience. Angered by the ongoing poker game, sports director Sebastian Kehl demonstratively gave the 18-year-old a deadline until the Bundesliga restart on Sunday against FC Augsburg. "Youssoufa can now accept this offer and commit to Borussia Dortmund - or they will part ways," Kehl told the "kicker".
Moukoko is one of a total of eight BVB professionals with whom Michael Zorc's successor will have to speak about the continuation of the cooperation, which will expire in the summer. The club did not comment on sums circulated in the media, according to which the top scorer was promised a bonus of ten million euros and a performance-related salary of up to six million euros.
Kehl sees potential and limits
"I would like him to choose us because he hasn't finished his development and I see huge potential in him. But there are limits for us as a club. And we have shown these limits. Now it's over up to him to make a commitment in a timely manner," commented Kehl.
A decision is also a long time coming in the negotiations with key players such as Reus, Hummels, Mahmoud Dahoud and Raphael Guerreiro. Kehl referred to the aftermath of the Corona crisis: "We couldn't implement transfers because the market was paralyzed. And we weren't able to extend contracts at the old level."
The modest sixth place in the table, which endangers participation in the Champions League, makes the contract talks even more difficult. "Our main focus is on the development of the current team, the results of the coming weeks and months will point the way. They are the basis for everything that will happen in the summer," said Kehl.
No hurry with veterans
Unlike Moukoko, BVB is in no hurry to negotiate with the veterans Reus and Hummels. "Now we have to see that we qualify for the Champions League. We will speak to both players in due course," said Hans-Joachim Watzke on Sky. The BVB managing director added calmly: "It should be remembered that both in the autumn of their careers are very deserving players for Borussia Dortmund who still have a high level of performance."
But the talks with the 33-year-old captain Reus and his deputy Hummels (34), a good five months older, are also not a sure-fire success. According to the new strategy of providing future contracts with more performance-related bonuses and less guaranteed basic salary, both are threatened with salary losses. In addition, there should be different ideas about the contract period.
Even the latest headlines that BVB captain Reus could follow the call of money and storm alongside Cristiano Ronaldo at Al-Nassr FC in the future did not lure the top management of the club out of their reserve. Initial comments from Reus and his advisors on the alleged offer from Saudi Arabia remained nebulous and fueled the suspicion that it was primarily about strengthening their own negotiating position.
Regardless of the excitement about Reus, club boss Watzke expects calm negotiations - also with Hummels: "After so many years that both have played for us, it shouldn't be a big problem to build a trusting atmosphere. We will certainly manage that."