Revealing some of the worst-kept news in recent memory, Borussia Dortmund announced on Sunday that the club will sign centre-back Ömer Toprak of Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.
The Turkey international will sign a contract until 2021, joining the Ruhr side after six years with the Rhinelanders. Appearing in a total of 181 Bundesliga matches for SC Freiburg and Leverkusen to this point, the 27-year-old has developed into one of the best and most consistent central defenders in the German top flight.
A team captain for Leverkusen and capped 25 times by Turkey, Toprak has also played in 23 UEFA Champions League matches. Experience and leadership are big factors in the signing for Dortmund, who tried to sign him in the summer of 2016 as a replacement for the departed Mats Hummels.
Toprak will come fairly cheap thanks to a release clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for a reported €12 million after Leverkusen demanded a reported €25 million last summer.
“Ömer Toprak is a strong defender with international experience and great leadership qualities,” sporting director Michael Zorc said in the club’s official press release. Head coach Thomas Tuchel can be considered the driving force behind the deal, having identified Toprak as his No. 1 target early in the process last summer.
Dortmund will not comment on the signing until the end of the current season “out of respect for their Bundesliga rivals.”