Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has revealed he has so far been underwhelmed by the performances of Jadon Sancho’s successor at Borussia Dortmund Donyell Malen.
Malen, 22, moved to the Westphalians in the summer for £25.6m from PSV Eindhoven, but the former Arsenal academy product has been unable to remedy the gaping void left by Sancho, who joined Manchester United in July.
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The 15-capped Netherlands international relocated to the Ruhr district off the back of a stellar campaign in Eindhoven, in which he bagged 19 goals and registered a further eight assists in the Eredivisie across 2020/21, which made him PSV’s top scorer by quite some distance.
Dortmund are still getting to grips under summer-appointment Marco Rose, and while the season is certainly still in its infancy, Malen has not hit the ground running like many were expecting of a forward with such a burgeoning reputation.
His most recent showing in the Borussen derby against Borussia Monchengladbach saw BVB fire a blank as Erling Haaland missed the contest through injury, with Malen failing to register a shot on target, complete a take-on, or create a single chance.
In his analysis of the game, in which Monchengladbach won 1-0 against former manager Rose, Matthaus expressed his ‘disappointment’ with the Dutch attacker and pinpointed his lack of vertical movement as an area of concern for BVB.
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“You can expect a little more from Donyell Malen. I am disappointed with him so far. In Gladbach he barely got past the opponents and didn’t move forward,” he wrote in his Sky column, before adding that Dortmund could very well be out of the title race soon ‘if they are not careful’.
He added: “Bayern are already four points ahead again and if Dortmund are not careful, there will be a few more in a few weeks and then hardly catching up.”