Neven Subotic is back in training and has been for over a week. The Borussia Dortmund defender had to undergo an operation on his ribcage, something which halted his move to Middlesbrough.

Subotic was repeatedly linked to Middlesbrough over the summer, and at one point Borussia Dortmund themselves were convinced he’d be signing for the club. So much so that the Bundesliga club held the defender back from team presentations, which angered sections of the club’s support, who thought it a poor way to treat such a player.

BVB chief Hans-Joachim Watzke has hit back over the past week, saying that what he’s given to the club has earned him the benefit of doubt.

Quoted by SportBild, Watzke stuck up for himself and explained: “We decided not to put him in the focus because he wanted to go to Middlesbrough at that time. At that time we were firmly convinced that the change could be made perfect within a few days. If we had presented him in the stadium and transferred him two days later, then we would have been reproached, it would have been a fake event.”

Subotic is still likely to leave Dortmund, and Middlesbrough may well be able to get a deal done more cheaply than last time. With a contract running out in June 2018, an exit is becoming increasingly likely.

At the end of September, SportBild reported that Dortmund are still keen on selling the player, and a deal could be done as soon as the January transfer window, as long as the player’s return to fitness goes to plan.