Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Gio Reyna, and Jude Bellingham are part of Europe’s most exciting young core. Financial realities dictate they won’t be together for long, but given the strange circumstances of this season, is it possible to imagine a longer future with them playing together?

Just for a second, cast your mind into the future, maybe five years from now, and imagine the kind of players Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland have become at 25 years old. Pretty good, I reckon. Now imagine what 22-year-olds Gio Reyna and Jude Bellingham look like. Yikes. Now, imagine that those players are still playing together for the same club. My god.

Sancho (20), Haaland (20), Bellingham (17), and Reyna (17) are part of Borussia Dortmund’s young core, combining to create one of the youngest and most exciting attacks in Europe. The reason why the prospect of them staying together for any length of time beyond this season seems fantastical is because of Dortmund’s reputation as a kind of finishing school for elite talent. Their strategy has often been to unearth diamonds, polish them for a season or two, and then sell them to one of the bigger, richer clubs in Europe for a hefty fee. It’s a philosophy that doubles as a business strategy, and it’s served Dortmund well. However, in a season in which everything is up for grabs in European football, is the prospect of this group staying together more realistic?

I often wonder whether Dortmund has a team WhatsApp group. I don’t mean a group chat where Mats Hummels posts a link to his podcast every week, but one exclusively reserved for Dortmund’s young players. Admittedly, I have no idea what elite-level footballers talk about among themselves, but I hope that Haaland, Sancho, Reyna, Bellingham, and 15-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko have a forum where they talk about what they might be able to achieve if they all stick together. They may all have ambitions to one day pull on the shirt of Real Madrid, Barcelona, or one of the top Premier League teams, but perhaps they’ve considered the possibility that maybe Dortmund is the best place for them all to be. Continue reading

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