Borussia Dortmund have completed the long awaited transfer of Italian international striker Ciro Immobile from Torino.
The 24-year-old forward has signed a five-year contract with the German club and joins for a fee believed to be £15.5million following an impressive 2013/14 season in which he topped the Serie A goalscoring charts with 22 goals in 33 games, helping Torino to a seventh place finish.
Immobile joins his new club as a replacement for the outgoing Robert Lewandowski, who will complete his free transfer to rivals Bayern Munich in the summer, leaving big boots to fill. 25-year-old Lewandowski finished as top scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 20 goals and has garnered a reputation as one of Europe’s hottest striking talents, leaving Dortmund with an impressive record of 74 goals in 131 league games since his arrival from Lech Poznan in 2010.
It’s a record that Immobile will be looking to emulate under Jurgen Klopp and the Dortmund manager believes that at 24 there is still room for improvement from his newest signing: "He can, will and must still improve in many areas and we want to help him," Klopp told Dortmund's official website.
"He has chosen us over many other clubs and is thrilled at Borussia Dortmund.”
"He is a real powerhouse that has played in all positions and he is used to operating with high intensity without losing any of his scoring prowess."
Immobile quickly emerged as BVB’s preferred target to replace Lewandowski and both parties have been publicly keen on making the deal happen, with Klopp claiming his club would do everything in their power to get their man and Immobile’s agent making it clear that Dortmund were his client’s destination of choice. However despite the seemingly mutual agreement on the deal Immobile’s parent club Torino had looked like they might scupper any potential move as club director Alberto Barile was left incensed by the German club’s failure to seek their permission before speaking to the player.
Under the terms of his previous deal Immobile was co-owned by Torino and Juventus and while Dortmund sought the necessary permission from Juve they failed to do the same with Torino, which led Barile to threaten to report their actions to FIFA in what he saw as a serious breach of their transfer regulations.
That threatened to change Torino’s initial stance of allowing the player to leave to progress himself as they had done last summer with Angelo Ogbonna who moved across Turin to join Juventus.
The player's desire to join German Super Cup holders Dortmund appears to have won the day and Immobile has expressed his delight at linking up with new manager Klopp and pushing himself to improve further:
"I hope my skills improve further under the training of Jurgen Klopp," he added.
"In Dortmund I have the opportunity to measure myself against the best players in the world."
"I am fascinated to play in the Champions League, to come up against the strongest defenders, to be able to battle to win titles in one of the most structured clubs in the world."
"I believe the style of play (in the Bundesliga) can help me become one of the best strikers in the world.”
Immobile will join up with his new teammates and fellow new acquisitions Adrian Ramos and Ji Dong-Won following his participation in the World Cup, at which he will be hoping to play a key role for Cesare Prandelli’s Italy side.
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