Borussia Dortmund have made a signing during the current transfer window, adding defender Manuel Akanji from Swiss club FC Basel for a reported transfer fee of €21.5 million including bonus payments. The 22-year-old signed a four-and-a-half-year contract until June 30, 2022.
Speculation had been ripe for weeks surrounding Akanji, with various outlets reporting Dortmund had already cancelled talks with the Swiss champions over their financial demands.
The 22-year-old was reportedly also a target for a number of Premier League clubs, including Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool FC. According to Swiss tabloid Blick, however, Akanji had his mind set on Dortmund alone.
A centre-back that has played on the right side of defence on occasion, Akanji has appeared in 58 competitive matches for Basel since joining in 2015. That tally includes six games in this season’s UEFA Champions League campaign that saw the Swiss side beat out Benfica and CSKA Moscow behind Manchester United in Group A.
Crucially, he is still be eligibile to play for Dortmund in the UEFA Europa League.
Akanji made his debut for Switzerland in June and has accumulated four caps, including both FIFA World Cup play-off matches against Northern Ireland that saw his country qualify for the tournament in Russia.
The son of a Nigerian father and a Swiss mother joins a crowded depth chart at the Westfalenstadion, though that may change rather soon. Neven Subotic’s contract runs out in the summer, while Sokratis Papastathopoulos could also leave the Ruhr side with his deal expiring in 2019.
Akanji will wear No. 16 for the Black and Yellows.
Sporting director Michael Zorc said:
“Manuel played his way into the sights of a number of top European clubs with his performances and we’re happy he decided to join us. He has proved for the national team and in the UEFA Champions League that he can play at the highest European level. All the same we view him as a defender who still has room to grow further.”
“I felt very comfortable in the talks with Dortmund’s decision-makers. It was a decision of the heart. I’ve always liked the football that’s being played at Dortmund. I’m looking forward to the time here and will give my all.”