BARGAIN HUNTER: DO BORUSSIA DORTMUND HAVE THE BEST SPORTING DIRECTOR IN THE WORLD
Michael Zorc is a 58-year-old German, who is currently Sporting Director at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Zorc was born and bread in Dortmund, coming through the ranks and establishing himself into the first team way back in 1981.
The German midfielder became a Dortmund legend, making 463 appearances for BVB, scoring 131 times in the process.
During his spell at the Signal Iduna Park, Zorc won the Champions league and the Intercontinental Cup as well as success domestically, becoming known for his ability as a goal-scoring midfielder.
Zorc played for Dortmund for 18 years before calling it quits in 1998.
Once retiring as a player, Zorc was immediately appointed as sporting director in 1998.
While the main job of the managers to work with the team, it is the sporting director's job to hire the team.
It is not just the team that Zorc hires though, it is also the managers.
Zorc has appointed household names such as Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund.
It was Klopp that guided BVB to two Bundesliga titles in his tenure before he left the club and ultimately went on to more success with Premier League giants Liverpool.
He has also had success with the most recent manager Lucien Favre who Zorc appointed after being impressed with his work at French side Nice.
On the pitch signings are also vital for the German.
Between Zorc and chief scout Sven Mislintat, Borussia Dortmund became world-renowned for finding the world’s best young talent and bringing them to the club before selling them for a huge profit just a few years down the line.
The pair have identified and brought in an abundance of talent over the years, with most recent examples including Jadon Sancho and Giovanni Reyna, both of which are current first-team regulars.
Dortmund seem to have developed a pattern of identifying world-class young talent and then buying them for a seemingly very reasonable fee.
A great example of what seems to happen at Dortmund is current Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele.
Barcelona bought Dembele from Dortmund for an initial whopping €105 million and an extra €40 million in add-ons.
Dembele had been at Dortmund for just one season as a 20-year-old but the Blaugrana saw him as a Neymar replacement.
In his single season in Germany, the French international scored 6 goals and recorded 12 assists in the Bundesliga.
In reality, despite having a lot of talent, Dembele probably wasn’t worth all of the money Barcelona payed for him. They paid the money to Dortmund, as Zorc identified that Barcelona were panicking and needed someone to replace their outgoing superstar.
Zorc saw this and told Barcelona a price that would be way above market rate and refused to budge on their stance.
Dortmund somehow made €85 million off the initial fee alone in that transfer, after Dembele joined them from French club Stade Rennes.
When Dembele joined Dortmund, he was hot property on the market after breaking onto the scene in France, being linked to €50 million moves to all of the European giants.
He would eventually join Dortmund for a fee much lower than the one originally rumoured, with Zorc convincing the player that Germany would be the best place for him to get game time to grow as a player, a decision that a lot of players after him have made.
Zorc has made BVB the place to go as a youngster in Europe with the club becoming a hunting ground for Europe’s elite.
It isn’t just the highly tipped talents that Dortmund have success with either. Zorc successfully negotiated deals for underappreciated talents Jadon Sancho and Giovanni Reyna, both of which have since been linked with mega-money transfers away from the club, Sancho especially.
Sancho was brought in from Manchester City for just €7 million and the England international has never looked back since. He has gone from strength to strength in Germany and was heavily linked with a €120 million move to Manchester United in the summer.
Some deals the club has pulled off across the last few seasons really do make you question just how Zorc pulls it off.
He identifies amazing staff and then utilises them to the best of his ability to bring in players which make the club competitive on the pitch, before moving them on and replacing them to make Dortmund sustainable as a business as well.
It is no wonder then that Zorc has been linked with top jobs around Europe, including the director of football role at Arsenal, who have successfully poached head scout Sven Mislintat from the club.
If Zorc continues with his dealings and Dortmund can hold off some of the money the bigger clubs throw at them, don’t be surprised to see them competing at the very top of the game soon.