A recent fan video of Mats Hummels has raised tensions between the embattled BVB captain and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in the ongoing saga of his potential transfer to Bayern Munich. Now it suddenly seems less certain that Hummels will go through with the transfer.
The video captured a candid moment as Hummels chatted with fans while signing autographs and taking selfies from his car. A fan can be heard commenting about the harsh criticism of Hummels after eight years with Dortmund. "Eight and a half," Hummels half-jokingly replies. He then continues on the subject of his transfer:
Anything can happen. Nothing has been decided yet. That shitty statement gave a different impression. No idea why they had to make it.
The announcement in question was issued by Borussia Dortmund a week ago, stating in no uncertain terms that Hummels wished "to leave the club in the summer and transfer to league-rival Bayern Munich for the next season," while Dortmund anticipated an "extremely high offer" from Bayern in proportion to Hummels's value.
As a publicly traded company, BVB is legally obligated to make statements regarding news that may affect its stock. That is the obvious answer to Hummels's question as to why the statement had to be made. And that is also the fact that Watzke seized on to dismiss Hummels's remarks:
Mats isn't a lawyer; he also doesn't need to know why we have to issue an ad-hoc statement. [...] From his perspective, I can absolutely understand his perpelxity. We also would have preferred it if we didn't have to publish the statement."
With that parting shot, Watzke shrewdly suggests that Dortmund would have preferred it if Mats Hummels had not wanted a transfer at all. After a week of vilification as "Judas" by the Dortmund Ultras, Hummels himself may be having second thoughts. Did Dortmund's front office throw Hummels in the fire to test whether he could take the heat?
Watzke's further comments suggest that may be the case:
An offer from Bayern Munich isn't necessary. Bayern knows of our expectations and must inform us whether they wish to meet them. First of all, though, Mats must want to transfer. He just now told the fans that everything is possible. I will bear that in mind.
Dortmund have reportedly demanded a massive transfer fee of 40 million euros. But will Bayern pay? And if Bayern balks, will Hummels simply see out his contract to leave like Lewandowski? Or does Watzke have something grander in mind - an extension?