DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund’s offseason rebuilding continued Monday with the signing of midfielder Salih Özcan from Bundesliga rival Cologne.
The 24-year-old Özcan, who made his debut for Turkey in March, signed a contract through June 2026 after completing a medical examination, Dortmund said.
He is the club’s fourth signing ahead of the new season after defenders Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck from Bayern Munich and Freiburg, respectively, and forward Karim Adeyemi from Salzburg.
“Özcan was one of the rising stars of this last Bundesliga season and made a key contribution to Cologne’s successful season in central defensive midfield,” BVB’s incoming sporting director Sebastian Kehl said. “He is a player who is incredibly strong in the tackle and the air. Someone who is prepared to do the dirty work and is uncompromising in his bid to help his team succeed.”
Dortmund said Özcan was “born into a wrestling family living in Cologne.” He progressed through all the German national team’s youth ranks from the under-15 level onwards before opting to represent Turkey. He played a key role in helping the German under-21s become European champions in 2020.
“Cologne are my hometown club and I owe them a great deal. There are very few clubs I would have left my town for,” Özcan was quoted as saying. “Borussia Dortmund’s energy, which one can literally feel, plus the opportunity to play regularly in the Champions League, ultimately led me to my decision.”
Kicker magazine reported that Dortmund took advantage of a release clause in Özcan’s contract with Cologne, which ran to 2023, to sign him for a transfer fee of 5 million euros ($5.3 million).
Dortmund is yet to announce a new coach for the season. The club decided last Friday not to continue with Marco Rose after his one season in charge. Rose’s predecessor Edin Terzić is the favorite to take over.
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The Associated Press