Dortmund hopes finding fresh blood from its Chinese academies
Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund prefers spotting young Chinese talent from the academies rather than buying mature players when enhancing its influence in China, said Benjamin Wahl, the club's head of China.
Dortmund initially planned a China tour last year, which got cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But the club has been seeking for other ways to enhance its bond with the Chinese fans.
"We have witnessed the increase of Chinese followers over the years. There are 19 official Dortmund fan organizations around China now," said Wahl, who represented the club to attend a contract renewal ceremony between Dortmund and its regional partner Würenbacher in Shanghai.
"Under the support of Würenbacher, we are planning to organize more offline activities including Bundesliga match watching events," said Wahl. "The club looks forward to another China tour whenever condition allows."
Dortmund's first China tour dates back to 2016, which was also the year it started to organize youth training camps and academies in China. The club set up its first Chinese office in Shanghai in 2017.
"We have enjoyed preferential policies by the Chinese government when launching academies and training programs here," said Wahl. "Our scouts have been keeping an eye on youngsters from China. Hope the club can sign a Chinese player in the near future."
The last big-name Asian player Dortmund signed was Japanese striker Kagawa Shinji.
"Signing mature players in their late 20s and 30s is more often for marketing purpose," said Wahl. "For the sake of the club's long-term development, we are willing to show more patience and look for young talent from here."