Sport  |  Football  

Benfica sign Dortmund midfielder Weigl

By AFP |   31 December 2019   |   6:21 pm  

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 16, 2019 Dortmund’s German midfielder Julian Weigl adjests his shoe during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund in Berlin. – Julian Weigl has signed for Portuguese club Benfica, Dortmund announced on December 31, 2019. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

Borussia Dortmund and Germany midfielder Julian Weigl will join Portuguese champions Benfica in the January transfer window, the Bundesliga club said on Tuesday.

In an official statement, Dortmund confirmed Weigl, 24, had put in a transfer request amid interest from the Lisbon club.

“Julian came to us with this request and we granted it, partly because of all he has done for the club,” said sporting director Michael Zorc.

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The transfer is still subject to a medical check, and the fee remains undisclosed.

According to Bild newspaper, Benfica could pay around 20 million euros ($22.5m) for the former Germany youth international.

The defensive midfielder, who doubles up as a center-back, shot to fame after joining Dortmund from 1860 Munich as a teenager in 2015.

He quickly established himself as a first-team regular under then-coach Thomas Tuchel, and made five appearances for Germany in 2016 and 2017.

Yet in recent years, he has struggled to hold down a place in midfield due to competition from the likes of Belgium veteran Axel Witsel.

Weigl will be only the third German ever to play for Portugal’s most decorated club, and the first outfield player to do so after goalkeepers Hans Joerg Butt and Robert Enke.

Benfica currently sits four points clear at the top of the Primeira Liga.

Dortmund is hoping to launch another assault on the Bundesliga title this spring, having won the race to sign Norwegian starlet Erling Braut Haaland earlier this week.

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