Borussia Dortmund winger Andriy Yarmolenko decided to call it quits after just one season at the Westfalenstadion earlier this summer in favour of a move to the Premier League, with the Black and Yellows forced to take a €5m hit on their big money signing from last year.
The 28-year-old was Dortmund’s biggest investment throughout both the summer and winter transfer windows last season. However, the Ukraine international, who for years was linked with a move to the club, arguably had the smallest impact out of any of their signings throughout 2017/18.
Yarmolenko scored six goals and claimed the same number of assists during his maiden year in Germany, an unimpressive, albeit far from catastrophic, tally for one of European football’s major leagues.
The highly-rated winger enjoyed some good form before the Christmas break under Peter Bosz, having a hand in seven Bundesliga goals. Frustratingly though, Yarmolenko wasn’t a player who Borussia Dortmund could depend on to perform consistently.
A man of the match performance against Augsburg, for example, was overshadowed by dismal displays in defeats against RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart during Dortmund’s rollercoaster Hinrunde – the first half of the league season in Germany.
Yarmolenko then had to battle with injury throughout the Rückrunde, making just five appearances, four of which were as a substitute. The winger managed to register just one assist during that time, continuing to frustrate with his temperamental performances.
Fans in Dortmund never questioned Yarmolenko’s ability, as it is quite clear for all to see that the 28-year-old has tremendous talent, but the feeling of walking to the Westfalenstadion and wondering ‘which version of Yarmolenko are we getting today?’ will not be missed.
All too often the Ukrainian’s impact on a game would appear to be just down to his mood, and less to do with Yarmolenko’s run of form – much like former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.
With Dortmund already having to sweat over Marco Reus’ availability on a weekly basis, and now without a reliable goalscorer in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the club could not afford to have a key attacking player who is that inconsistent.
On top of that, Dortmund will now be able to offer even more players a chance to impress. The club’s competition for places should help their young players develop even further, as well as giving them more options in attacking areas.
Summer signings Maxi Philipp and Jadon Sancho quickly became fan favourites with their performances last season, while USMNT golden boy Christian Pulisic continued to show signs of development.
All three will see their game time improve even further when the season gets back underway, while Sergio Gómez and Jacob Bruun Larsen could also be in contention for a place in the squad under Lucien Favre.
It appears that Borussia Dortmund are still some way off before being able to offer Bayern Munich a regular challenge for the title, but offloading Yarmolenko could prove to a key move in asserting their dominance over local rivals Schalke 04 and reclaiming second place in the Bundesliga table.