BORUSSIA DORTMUND PLAYERS have been warned any attempts to force a move in the near future like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele will backfire on them and cause a “huge problem”.
The Bundesliga side lost their prized assets in controversial circumstances, as Dembele skipped training to protest his club’s refusal to sell him to Barcelona, eventually leading to a €105 million transfer in August.
There was further unrest in January, when Aubameyang was suspended for skipping a team meeting amid intense speculation before he was sold to Arsenal on the final day of the window.
And the club have taken steps to ensure that any players who want to leave Signal Iduna Park should refrain from causing a stir like the departed stars, as CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke warned they will only damage themselves.
“On Thursday, I told the team in no uncertain terms that the next player to do this will fail miserably,” Watzke said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung.
He will have a huge problem. The next player will not get away with it and will sit in the stands.
“Everyone knows that now. This is a public statement that I can hold myself to.”
Dortmund are fourth in the German top flight after 21 games, sitting 19 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Although they have little chance of challenging the reigning champions for the title this season, Watzke feels Peter Stoger’s squad is better than the one that lifted back-to-back league crowns a few years ago, but are held back by their mentality.
However, the chief executive hinted that there could be a few changes ahead of the next campaign.
“The team that won the league in 2011 and 2012 was definitely not as good as today’s team, but they had the best mentality, as you can imagine,” he added.
“The next point we have to tackle is that we need to adjust the squad in the summer, depending on the course of the second half of the season.”