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Is Simon Kjaer the Answer? (with video)

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With the transfer market taking shape and the Euro qualifiers looming, there are several things that have been occupying my mind: watching the news to see when the Neuer sale will be made official; trying to communicate with angry, angry German-speaking readers; and sometimes I even spend a few minutes thinking about my real job. But one thing that I keep coming back to is FC Bayern’s need for a new CB. Although we’ve been linked with a number of strikers and midfielders, the lack of a skilled CB who has both speed and toughness is still our biggest hole (other than GK, which appears to have already been filled).

On Monday, we looked at Jerome Boateng, currently under contract with Manchester City and still recovering from a knee injury.  I concluded that Boateng was probably the best of the available options, although I’m still worried about his knee injury and the fact that he couldn’t seem to crack the line-up with City.  But another possibility at this spot is Simon Kjaer, Danish international currently playing with VfL Wolfsburg.

I only distinctly remember seeing Kjaer play once.  He looked good, from what I remember - his footwork and technique were solid, and he seemed to move fluidly (unlike a few of our current CBs, who tend to look like robots with creaky limbs).  He’s listed as 6’2” tall, which would make him useful on balls in the air and on set pieces, where we’ve had trouble this year.  But since Boateng is 6’3” I guess that’s not really a plus on the Kjaer side of the equation.  YouTube is most definitely not a wealth of information on Mr. Kjaer; from what I can gather, there are a ton of clips with him being interviewed extensively, but rather few of him actually playing ball.  One of the better ones is entitled “All the Goals Made by Simon Kjaer in Palermo Football” - apparently, there were only three:

 

From this, we can discern that Kjaer is good at chipping the ball, as well as standing in front of the goal and allowing the ball to bounce off of him and trickle into the goal.  Both of which are good skills to have, I suppose, but not exactly what we’re in the market for.  Digging a little deeper, we come across a video called “Cannavaro vs. Kjaer.”  Never a comparison I thought to make, I’ll admit, but the footage of Kjaer begins halfway through (about 31 seconds in). 

 

In addition to the same chipped goal we saw in the first video, we also see him competently blocking a shot and leaping up to clear a ball away from the front of the goal with his head.  So, that’s a little better.

Boateng seems like the safer choice, despite the injury, because he’s an established commodity.  Kjaer is a little more unknown, but with a big potential upside and possibly a lower initial cost.  Wolfsburg avoided relegation with a win in the final week of the season, and they just signed Simon to a new contract last year, so there’s no guarantee they will even want to sell.  But if we really decide to go in this direction, I imagine we could come up with a number that would satisfy VfL.

I’m told that Kjaer is also still eligible for the European Under-21 Championships - even though he’s 22, he was under 21 when the tournament started.  Those will conclude in June in his home country of Denmark, so this will be a good way for the Bayern chiefs (and maybe even us fans) to get a better look at the kid.  If he impresses next month, there’s a good chance Bayern might take a crack at signing him.  That would leave us much-improved at the CB position: Kjaer (22 years old) and Badstuber (also 22) would probably be the starters, but Gustavo (23) could still play there instead of midfield if he really performs that much better than Badstuber.  Daniel van Buyten, if we keep him, would be the crafty veteran leader of the group, but the hope would be that Kjaer and Badstuber would grow into a partnership that could hold down the back for years to come.

If anyone has seen more of Kjaer and has an opinion on whether he’d be a good signing, I’d love to hear it in the comments, or you can always e-mail us at bayern.offside@yahoo.com.  We’ll be tracking the transfer market all summer, so tune in tomorrow or Friday for updates, including a decision on the Klose situation, which KHR says will happen “this week.”  Thanks for reading.