Former Borussia Dortmund defender Christoph Metzelder has doubts about Ciro Immobile’s ability to replace Robert Lewandowski and questioned the transfer fee the Signal Iduna Park club paid for the Italy international. The former Germany international is disappointed with the contribution made so far by the 24-year-old and believes Dortmund overpaid when bringing him to the Bundesliga
Immobile joined Dortmund from Torino for a reported €18 million in the summer, as the club brought him in as the man to fill the shoes of Bayern Munich-bound goalscorer Lewandowski. He has made a slow start to life at his new club, however, scoring twice in six appearances – against Arsenal in the Champions League and Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.
And Metzelder isn’t convinced Immobile will fit Dortmund’s style of play in the way Lewandowski did. “The ‘Klopp System’ is a real challenge for a new player. Also when you come from a different league where the way of working is different, it is not easy to adjust.
“You can see it with [fellow new signing] Adrian Ramos too. He has to find his role in this system. “It takes time, it was the same with Lewandowski. But you have to ask yourself: Does Immobile, as a ‘box striker’, fit into Klopp’s system? “Against Arsenal he did a good pressing job but, against a team where Dortmund need a striker who can play a bit more, something Lewandowski was perfect at, can Immobile do it? This is where I have some doubts.”
Immobile has the chance to make up for his slow start and make himself a hero to the Dortmund faithful at the weekend when Dortmund come up against local rivals Schalke in the hotly-contested Ruhr derby.
But even a bright performance against the Gelsenkirchen club would not convince Metzelder, who played for both clubs in his career that Dortmund did not overpay for a striker who was the Serie A top scorer last season with 22 goals in 33 games.
He added: “To be honest I don’t have the feeling there was such a big market for Immobile in Europe that €18m was justified. But the bosses wanted him no matter what and now they will give him the time he needs.”