Chelsea, Barcelona were among the premier clubs linked to Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, after official confirmation over his decision to leave on a free transfer trickled in.
Sule is a Barcelona fan, with many Cules rejoicing at the opportunity to twiddle their thumbs at rivals Bayern. Chelsea fans were pleased to note a potential quality addition, with reports linking Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, to moves abroad. However, in the end, the transfer worked out the same way questions appear in an exam: the most unexpected manner.
Sule is joining Borussia Dortmund as confirmed by the club, marking the first instance of a player leaving the Bavarians at his prime to join Dortmund, in recent times. Munich fans were left stunned and shocked at this surprising development, having never expected their 'little brothers' to showcase this statement of intent. Having signed Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer from Dortmund in the past, going on to unsettle Marco Reus by announcing his release clause publicly, the Bavarians had become supremely confident about their influence.
However, this represents a timely reminder that despite showcasing a lax approach in the past, Dortmund cannot be written off by Munich. It is also a much-needed relief for Bundesliga fans, who had grown weary of the Bavarians simply plucking top talents from German clubs on free transfers or for paltry sums, like ripe fruits on a tree.
Barring the blow to Bayern's pride over being the only preferred choice for German players, it is also a boost to Dortmund's sagging defence. The increasingly leaky defence has conceded nine goals in the last three matches, with that including a 1-2 defeat against FC St. Pauli and 2-5 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen.
Fans have grown increasingly weary of the poor defensive display by Dortmund, with Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou not exactly setting the stage on fire. The only transfer speculation involving the club is with regard to a move abroad for Erling Haaland, who has been the club's sole saving grace in recent times. While this announcement ensures some much-needed leeway for the board, while looking to placate the fans, it is also a big move from Sule's perspective.
The 26-year-old has won a lot of trophies at Bayern Munich which will no doubt soothe his soul. However, what he has not secured is a starting berth and regular game time, with the likes of Dayot Upamecano breathing down his neck. Dortmund provide Sule with an opportunity to be the main man, and potentially emerge as the biggest star at the club, if Haaland departs.
The defender has all the skills in the book and will now enjoy the perfect platform to showcase those, on his own terms. Sule further presents Dortmund with the perfect landmark signing, in case Akanji who is not agreeable on a new contract, opts to seek fresh pastures. He can also develop as a defender, under the guidance of experienced veteran Mats Hummels, who will be his teammate.
Transfers can make or mar the legacy of a manager, and Dortmund manager Marco Rose will be optimistic about Sule emerging as a Virgil Van Dijk in his case, with many terming Rose as a dead man walking.