Borussia Dortmund signing Andre Schurrle makes sense despite price tag

On Thursday, Borussia Dortmund announced their eighth addition of the transfer window: Andre Schurrle joins from Wolfsburg for a club-record €30 million.

Schurrle's arrival was announced just one day after Mario Gotze's return from Bayern Munich was made official, and the two German internationals are good friends who have spent several holidays together.

However, neither deal has received the overwhelming backing of the Dortmund fans. Gotze is still in many supporters' bad books after his controversial 2013 switch to Bayern, and the Schurrle deal has raised eyebrows because of the size of the fee.

Dortmund's last two truly major signings were Marcio Amoroso, who joined from Parma for €25.5m in 2001, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who cost €27.5m when he arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

Those two deals had been what Germans describe as "Königstransfers" -- the centrepiece of the club's summer business, and players expected to have the biggest impact on the coming season. Schurrle is not in that category.

The 25-year-old forward is a known entity in the Bundesliga, and has played for Mainz, Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea and Wolfsburg during the past six years.

At Dortmund, he will again link up with Thomas Tuchel, who brought him through the Mainz youth ranks and onto the Bundesliga stage. Schurrle had a stellar start in Mainz, forming the goal-celebration boy-band named "The Bruchweg boys" together with Lewis Holtby and Adam Szalai.

All three of the Bruchweg Boys were poised for bigger things when running rampant in the Bundesliga in 2010-11, but their solo albums have yet to really set the charts alight.

Schurrle, arguably the most successful of the trio, enjoyed a successful stint at Leverkusen but aimed too high when joining Chelsea in 2013. The attacker struggled to break into the first XI of a Premier League-winning Chelsea side in the 2014-15 season and moved on to Wolfsburg halfway through the campaign with his tail between his legs.

He sought to reignite his career with Wolfsburg, but only managed 27 starts in 51 Bundesliga games for Dieter Hecking's side -- a hugely disappointing return for the club's most expensive signing.

His career with the German national team has followed a similar trajectory. Although the winger provided the 2014 World Cup-winning assist for Gotze in the final against Argentina, Schurrle was merely an impact substitute under Joachim Low. In three major tournaments, he has not once played the full 90 minutes. He was disregarded by Low after the group stage at Euro 2016.

That means that, although he managed to turn around his form in the second half of last season at Wolfsburg, scoring nine goals, he doesn't arrive in Dortmund with the reputation of Europe's hottest player. Instead, he has the burden of justifying his enormous price tag.

Even so, Dortmund have purchased Schurrle fully aware that he may not become their record goal scorer or assist provider. It may simply be that having three years left on his deal at Wolfsburg led to an inflated picture of Schurrle's actual market worth.

Tuchel shared some insight into the decision following BVB's 4-1 win against Manchester United at the International Champions Cup in Shanghai.

"We have lost 'Miki' [Mkhitaryan]," he said. "There are very few attacking wingers, like Mkhitaryan, Karim Bellarbi or Andre Schurrle, who have a great gift supplementing their talent. They are completely selfless, yet have a high goal scoring rate. If you defend in behind Andre Schurrle, then you feel better. It's the ability of industriously working for the team in combination with utilising their talents to make the difference upfront."

Schurrle's goal-scoring rate of 0.38 goals per game is not too far behind Mkhitaryan's 0.39 goals per game, although the average does not take into account that the Armenian was superb last season.

But the goal-scoring rate is not the major criteria in the record-breaking buy. Dortmund lost three pillars of the side in Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Mkhitaryan this summer -- key players who were also leaders and role models on the pitch.

And with the stellar goal and assist rate, Mkhitaryan's defensive prowess is easily overlooked, even though they were just as valuable for Dortmund.

In the future, talents like 17-year-old Christian Pulisic, 18-year-old Emre Mor or 19-year-old Ousmane Dembele will be in charge of providing the flashy play on the pitch, but they are raw and inexperienced on the international stage.

From the sounds of Tuchel's words, Schurrle will be the man to provide the defensive stability and necessary experience on the left side that youngsters like Dembele still cannot at the highest level.

The 25-year-old is also the backup plan for the injury-prone Marco Reus, who is yet again working on a comeback from injury. Reus, who scores 0.47 goals per 90 minutes, missed 30 percent of Dortmund's past two seasons, excluding those matches in which he was rested.

When asked if the additions of Gotze and Schurrle would take away playing time from Dortmund's array of talented youngsters, Tuchel answered: "It's the best thing that can happen to young players, when older, experienced players stand by their side. In stressful situations, but also in everyday life. We have proven enough in the last years that we give young players a chance to develop. However, we also lost pillars and role models in the team construct with Mats, Ilkay and 'Miki.' We also have to replace those."

Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs has spoken of the way Schurrle became a leader toward the end of his time at Wolfsburg, and it seems the motivation behind Borussia Dortmund's record-breaking transfer is to add stability and balance to a heavily rejuvenated team.

The argument remains that Jakub Blaszczykowski, back from a season's loan from Fiorentina but expected to be sold, could have offered the same qualities. Even so, Schurrle is a player of international class and Tuchel is the coach who knows best how to utilise him.

Schurrle might never live up to his price tag at Dortmund, but that does not mean he cannot play an important role for a club in a period of transition.