(Ben W) #1

MOST WANTED Seeking more game time


(Borussia Dortmund & Ger)
No one would blame the midfield
regulator for contemplating a move away
from the Westfalenstadion. The 23-year-
old German international admits he is not
a particularly patient character, so he
must be frustrated at his lack of starts in
the Bundesliga and Champions League
this term. As a player whose game is 90
per cent based on passing accuracy, it’s
imperative that he is sharp and in sync.
A part-time brief is no use to him
whatsoever. Rust never sleeps.
Circumstances have not been kind to
him of late. He missed virtually the entire
pre-season with a complicated groin
problem and while kicking his heels on
the sidelines he was helpless to prevent

new signings Axel Witsel and Thomas
Delaney establishing themselves as the
first-choice holding duo.
On the rare occasions that he has
started this season he has often had to
fill in as an emergency centre-back. All
in all, it’s been a season of setbacks for
the former 1860 Munich prodigy. In
Dortmund’s victory over Bayern Munich
in November, he was so poor that coach
Lucien Favre substituted him at half-time.
How different it was in his first two
campaigns in Dortmund, when coach
Thomas Tuchel handed the rookie the
role of playmaker general, the individual
who made the whole side tick.
With his boyish looks, Weigl might
have looked like he was on secondment
from the schoolyard, but in almost every
other sense here was a fully fledged
adult. So mature, thoughtful and

self-assured, rarely giving the ball away
and never appearing to be rushed,
German sports writers have rightly
dubbed him “The Pass Machine”.
Capped five times between 2016 and
2017, he has not been the same player
since Dortmund fired Tuchel two years
ago. While Tuchel had rock-solid faith in
him, the same could not be said of his

successors in the hot seat: Peter Bosz,
Peter Stoger and now Favre.
An obvious new destination would be
Paris Saint-Germain, where he would link
up again with Tuchel. Manchester City’s
Pep Guardiola may also be interested,
having expressed his admiration for the
Bavarian who he sees as a kindred spirit:
a fast-thinking and flexible midfield

(Chelsea & Eng)
After a brilliant
international
debut, the
18-year-old
returned to an
uncertain future
at Chelsea, where
Maurizio Sarri has
used him sparingly.
Bayern Munich
offered £35m
in January and
will bid again.

(Juventus,
Ita & Bra)
A disappointing
season has been
marred by his poor
behaviour on and
off the pitch,
forcing Juve to
consider cutting
their losses on a
wide man signed
last summer after
some sparkling
performances
on loan the
previous term.

CALLUM HUDSON-ODOI DOUGLAS COSTA


JULIAN WEIGL


Rarely giving the
ball away and never
appearing to be
rushed, German
sports writers have
rightly dubbed him
“The Pass Machine”