Monday's soccer news starts with a safe assumption. Most of us at some point have looked at a schedule and tried to eke out a path to success. Whether it was turning a lousy grade into a better one or convincing ourselves there's enough time left on a project, the calendar becomes our friend. Well, until it turns on us and we recognize that it's counting down to an inevitable outcome. That's an ongoing concern week in and week out in soccer, especially during the month of January.
Why is January important? The transfer window allows clubs to make moves with the rest of that schedule in mind. There's normally enough time left to do something at any spot in the table. All it takes is an ability and willingness to spend.
So far, the biggest move of the January window doesn't officially happen until this summer. It's Christian Pulisic to Chelsea at around $70m, dwarfing Lucas Paqueta's move from Flamengo to Milan for just over $40m and the almost $30m Dortmund paid Barcelona to make Paco Alacer's loan deal permanent. Dortmund also spent over $17m for Boca Juniors defender Leonardo Balerdi
Borussia Dortmund's situation is interesting. They're top of the Bundesliga table, trying to see off Bayern Munich. Six points separates the two clubs with both in the knockout round of the Champions League. Dortmund has the advantage in both competitions. They drew Spurs in the Round of 16 while Bayern plays Liverpool. Holding onto either of them as the calendar progresses is the issue.
What Dortmund has right now is a strong midfield feeding into one of the better attacks in all of European soccer. What they need is defensive stability heading into February's Champions League games and Bayern Munich to not make a January move.
Bayern Munich is heavily linked with Chelsea player Callum Hudson-Odoi, an England youth international. Should that move go through, Bayern will have their version of Dortmund's England player Jadon Sancho. Bayern already has young Canadian international Alphonso Davies, showing the rest of the Bundesliga they plan to go head-to-head with Dortmund in recruiting young internationals.
That might not matter in 2019. For Dortmund, that's the game right now. If things stay the same, they're the Bundesliga team playing with the advantages.
These Football Times' Edd Norval makes a point about using statistics in soccer. ESPN's Mark Ogden takes issue with some of former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's comments as a pundit. Rory Smith's interview with Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis for the NY Times. The Guardian's Jonathan Wilson asks a fundamental question about Chelsea.
MLSsoccer's Alicia Rodriguez explains Seb Giovinco's situation at Toronto FC.
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Logo courtesy of Borussia Dortmund