Borussia Dortmund are no strangers to doing smart business in the transfer window. They did that with Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt in the summer of 2019. They did it with Erling Haaland this past January. But the club has already done a lot to resurrect Emre Can’s career.
While the German arrived initially on a loan deal from Dortmund, his move has already been made permanent by BVB. The former Liverpool man was frozen out at Juventus by Maurizio Sarri, having arrived at the club on a free transfer from Liverpool in the summer of 2018 under Massimiliano Allegri.
Times had become tough for Can. While Allegri’s last season saw the German play in a pragmatic system, Can still got four goals in the Serie A that season and got one assist. He was seen as a player with value- someone who was playing regularly in the injury absences of Sami Khedira.
But Allegri’s exit saw many players get pushed towards a Juve exit. One of them was Can. A move to Barcelona couldn’t happen and he was excluded from the bianconeri’s Champions League squad. It was a clear sign that he was not wanted, as he was only a bit-part player in Serie A.
While Juve did push him away, the move to Dortmund was a welcome one. Can’s development had stagnated at Juve, while two more free agents in Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey came along. But in a limited amount of time, he’s made an impact back home already. Dortmund seem to have done another very good deal.
In recent months, Lucien Favre has been using a 3-4-3 shape more often than his old 4-2-3-1. That allows for Axel Witsel to still have another pivot partner, while they have an extra defender at the back. Can has come in has made the slot beside Witsel his own, with Julien Weigl sold to Benfica. The form of the midfield pair has gone a long way to a football betting broker placing big money on BVB winning the title.
His debut came against Bayer Leverkusen in a thrilling 4-3 loss. But despite the defeat, Can was one of the best on the pitch.
Playing in a 4-2-3-1, he was beside Witsel. While the Belgian struggled, Can scored a screamer and won a single last-man tackle against Die Werkself. He won two tackles and completed one dribble, but completed 35 passes as well. The completeness of his performance was crucial.
He made an even bigger impact against Eintracht Frankfurt as well, helping in the 4-0 win. He won as many as six tackles, making three interceptions for the club. The impressive showing helped him get a start against Paris Saint-Germain and he made a mark in that as well.
While the attack made a real difference, Can laid down a solid foundation in midfield too. He completed five dribbles, winning two aerial duels. It was a much different performance to what the Frankfurt one was.
Perhaps the Werder Bremen game was the best for him. While Bremen are down in the drop zone, Can had a passing accuracy of 95 percent and played 57 passes. He completed four tackles- a proof of how he’s got the role he always needed.
In many ways, the move has given him an identity. He’s playing in a box-to-box role, doing both things in equal regard with another midfielder beside him. Witsel has certainly been crucial to getting Can to work but the German himself deserves credit. The best football prediction site UK are very confident that Can and Witsel will lead BVB to the Champions League again next season.
After a period of frustration, he is proving to Juventus and the world that he’s a very good player. It could be soon enough that he makes Juve themselves regret the sale and the manner in which they treated him.