With Mario Gotze poised to move to Bayern Munich this summer, many have been asking the question; who will Borussia Dortmund bring in to replace the gifted Germany international?
Many names have been branded about: players such as Malaga’s Isco, German youngster Julian Draxler, Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and also players such as Christian Eriksen, Lucas Poldolski and Luka Modric.
Most of the aforementioned players are young but relatively well-known names in the game, with Isco, De Brunye and Draxler stars of the future for sure - but one thing nobody mentioned was that they don’t need to bring in any of these players at all.
Dortmund can do the same as they did with Gotze: promote from within.
BVB have a ready-made replacement in Leonardo Bittencourt. While still only 19 years of age and learning the game, he should be seen as the prime candidate to fill the boots of Gotze.
Signed from Energie Cottbus last summer, Bittencourt hasn’t had the first-team opportunities he perhaps would have hoped for this past season. Now Gotze has upped sticks, Bittencourt has the opportunity to really stake a claim to fill the the void that will be behind the attacking midfielder in Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Born to Brazilian parents but raised in Germany, he has all the attributes to become a top-class player. Fairly similar to Gotze in stature, he is a creative attacking midfield player with speed, pace, imagination and can play across a number of midfield positions.
His father was also a professional footballer, playing for Fluminense and Cottbus amongst other clubs.
Dortmund have proved in recent years how dedicated they are to promoting youth into their first team; clear examples here are Shinji Kagawa and, of course, Mario Gotze.
By promoting Bittencourt to the first team, it will aid his development and, if all works out, Dortmund will have landed a gem for a measly £2.4m.
And with the likeliness that the club will see Robert Lewandowski leave this summer, and with no natural striker left at the club, Klopp may like to use that £31m to purchase a renowned striker to lead the charge to win back the Bundesliga title.
By promoting from within Dortmund can also save a large chunk of their funds.
Forget talking about Modric, Eriksen, Podolski to Dortmund - quite frankly all will be ridiculously expensive - all Dortmund need now is to show a bit of faith in the 19 year-old Bittencourt and let the rest come naturally.
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