Borussia Dortmund departing captain Mats Hummels had been a subject of ongoing transfer speculations for months with Germany defender having been linked with a move to Manchester United and Barcelona among other interested parties.
The 27-year-old centre-back has always been adamant about his future, claiming that once the final decision had been made he will not hold it a secret, thus assuring the BVB fans of his loyalty and honesty.
Dortmund supporters knew for a while that it won’t be too long before they were forced to bid farewell to their long-serving defender, but his decision to join bitter rivals Bayern Munich earlier this month was a big pill to swallow.
After eight years of service at Borussia Dortmund, Mats Hummels decided to do the unthinkable.
The 27-year-old Germany international’s decision was met with utter disappointment, even a bigger one knowing that it was exactly Mats Hummels who publicly criticised Mario Gotze for making the same choice in 2013.
So how did Mats Hummels decide to change his opinion and what lies behind reasons to choose Bavarians?
Chance to prove his worth
Mats Hummels joined the Westfalen club in 2008 from none other than Bayern Munich.
Germany international was the product of Bayern’s academy, but former Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann had opted for centre-back Breno Borges instead of a boy who went through all of the club’s ranks and on to the cusps of the first team.
Borussia Dortmund signed Hummels on loan at first as it was expected that Hummels will return to Munich to prove his worth, but he never got the chance to do so and had been signed by BVB as a 20-year-old for a fee in excess of €4 million.
Eight years of bitterness towards his childhood club played a great part in Hummel’s public reaction to Gotze’s decision to move to Bayern in 2013 when Hummels judged his former team-mate, at the same time winning the hearts of BVB fans all over again.
The same hearts were left broken however towards the end of last month when it was announced that Hummels will be joining the same club he was publicly blasting just three years ago.
Dortmund are losing their captain, a modern, forward defending centre-back and arguably one the most complete defenders in the world. Football romantics will have been left disillusioned with Hummels’ choices, but reasons for making a decision to return to his boyhood club are not difficult to understand.
It is not about money as Hummels’ reasons are sporting ones.
A summer return to Allianz Arena will be an emotional affair for Dortmund captain, who will be given a second chance to prove his worth to the club which rejected him too easily.
We have seen similar examples before, Nemanja Matic’s return to Chelsea being one of the most recent ones and I am convinced that even those Dortmund fans who are blinded by anger at the moment will in time realize that a move to Bayern is actually the romantic closure for German international.
No bad blood
Professionalism is the word we hear more and more in the football discourse as emotions fade in these modern times.
Some will call Hummels a hypocrite as his words of criticism towards Mario Gotze still echo in the distance, but there will be no bad blood between Hummels and Borussia Dortmund despite it all.
Club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has confirmed the assumption as he was full of praise for the outgoing captain, who played his final match for the Black and Yellow during weekend in the DFB Pokal final against his next club.
Watzke has acknowledged that Hummels’ departure was a great loss for the club, but BVB CEO has nevertheless expressed gratitude towards the 27-year-old World Cup winner.
“We are indebted to him, he marked an era and he will be extremely welcome at BVB. We are produ he played eight and a half years for us”, he said.
Hummels himself paid respect to Borussia Dortmund thanking for a wonderful time that he deemed “terrific”.
Timing of his decision to leave Dortmund at the point when Thomas Tuchel’s side are getting stronger than ever has been up for debate as well as it also left BVB fans feeling disappointed and angry, but Hummels is aware that he is not getting any younger.
A move to Bayern Munich at the age of 27 is indeed the right time as Hummels is currently in enjoying the best years of his career.
Fully grown, mature and developed into one of world’s best, Hummels will use his return to Bayern to try and win trophies and grab the coveted Champions League trophy he was close to grabbing in 2013 when his team lost 2-1 to Bavarians at Wembley.
What is more, timing of his transfer to Bayern Munich is perfect in regard to Germany’s efforts to claim the European title in France. Mats Hummels will head into the Euro 2016with a clear mind, eager to do his utmost to help his team lift the trophy.