Dortmund - Michael Zorc certainly can't be accused of putting his feet up during the Bundesliga break, securing the services of Neven Subotic, Sven Bender and Marcel Schmelzer on new long-term contracts. However, the Borussia Dortmund sporting director's greatest winter coup was an external addition: the re-signing of cult hero Nuri Sahin.
In interview with bundesliga.com, Zorc revealed just how keen Turkish international Sahin had been to re-join the Yellow-Blacks, as well as what is to be expected by club and player in the 24-year-old's 18-month spell.
bundesliga.com: Michael Zorc, have you known a player to be so eager to join Borussia Dortmund as Nuri Sahin?
Michael Zorc: I haven't, to be honest. I think it's quite clear how happy everyone involved is about the deal. And, quite frankly, this transfer wouldn't have been possible had Nuri not been so determined.
bundesliga.com: Are you referring to the fact that he accepted a significant pay-cut to sign for the club, as he pointed out?
Zorc: I think we're all aware that the salary structure here is different from Real Madrid's. However, Nuri accepted what we offered as for him it was all about wearing Borussia Dortmund's shirt again. There wouldn't have been a chance to sign him otherwise. This of course shows that his dedication to BVB isn't just empty words. He has a hugely strong desire to play for us, and for us only.
bundesliga.com: What was the deciding factor in the way you approached the deal: re-signing a prodigal son or strengthening the squad?
Zorc: Sporting matters always come first, no question. Nuri hasn't enjoyed much playing time in the last 18 months, but we're all aware of his qualities, which is why we're convinced he'll be a great asset in the coming years. I'm sure he'll be able to link up very well with all our midfielders and his footballing ability is outstanding. But it's not just that, Nuri's also such a positive character, and he will give it 100 per cent with BVB.
bundesliga.com: Do you believe he will need time to settle in due to his lack of first-team action since leaving Dortmund?
Zorc: It wouldn't be a surprise, especially given the fact that in the year and a half since Sahin's departure, our team has been developed so much and certain automatisms are second nature now. That's why we shouldn't expect too much of him too soon. We have all the time we need. Nuri knows that himself and everyone should accept that.
bundesliga.com: Was the signing also a response to FC Bayern Munich's big-money transfers in the summer?
Zorc: We give all our responses out on the pitch. Our guiding principle was doing what we felt was best and most useful to Borussia Dortmund. This transfer has nothing to do with FC Bayern.
bundesliga.com: Sahin will be wearing No. 18, the shirt worn by Lars Ricken, who led Dortmund to UEFA Champions League glory in 1997. Does his transfer raise the hopes of a repeat of that success?
Zorc: Nuri has played in the Europa League, but we can register him for the Champions League and we will of course do that. However, we're not looking any further than the last sixteen and Shakhtar Donetsk right now. Only five months ago, a lot of people didn't give us a prayer and now half the footballing world sees us reaching the final. We're a little more down to earth at BVB. In the Bundesliga, our aim is to qualify for next year's Champions League, while we also have a tough match ahead of us in the [DFB] Cup against Bayern Munich. But the same is true for them as well.
Interview by Dietmar Nolte