The early-morning news feed had several items confirming Jerome Boateng’s move to FC Bayern. A more recent article from The Guardian says that Manchester City has "not yet ratified the deal." It’s not clear what this means … either the deal is already essentially in place, with City just left to actually sign it, or it could mean that Bayern and JB have agreed to terms, but the actual transfer fee has yet to be negotiated. If that second possibility is actually the truth, then get ready for a week or two of back-and-forth haggling. But either way, I expect Boateng will line up for Bayern this coming season.
Along with the pick-ups of Neuer, Rafinha, Usami (?), Petersen, and the re-signing of Alaba, and the sale of Ottl, Altintop, and Elicki, this largely puts shape to our line-up for the 2011-2012 season. Of course, plenty of details remain to be worked out - confirming the Usami deal and figuring out where he’s going to start the year, deciding whether to offload Pranjic and/or Breno, and, if we end up loaning out Usami and selling Pranjic, maybe even picking up another forward. But, we’ve done enough to have a rudimentary understanding of how Bayern will line-up in August:
Under this formulation, Olic is the first guy off the bench at striker (he can take Müller’s spot of Gomez’s spot). Gustavo is the first guy off the bench at both CB and CDM, and could even start if Badstuber or Tymoschuk struggles. van Buyten would also be a backup CB, and might get some starts. Kroos can back-up Ribery, Robben, or Müller, nad even fill in at the CDM spots if there is a rash of injuries. Contento is the first back-up for Lahm, and if Rafinha gets hurt or plays poorly, Lahm moves back to RB and Contento comes in at LB. Usami, if he arrives, will compete with Pranjic and Kroos to back up both wing positions. Seems like a crowd, but keep in mind Ribery and Robben are both known to struggle with injury troubles, and we’ll be playing in 3 competitions (including the play-off round of the Champions League).
As far as Boateng himself, it’s probably the right move, but not very exciting. He’s a tough kid who can tackle pretty well and can also be useful going forward. My two concerns are: (1) he’s coming off a knee injury, and (2) he has a limited ceiling - even if he’s healthy and playing at his best, he’s a very solid, B+ defender, not a true all-world defender.
But, as we know, there weren’t any of those on the market. Nerlinger and KHR clearly felt that doing nothing at the back wasn’t an option, so they went with a well-known option who has played well in the Bundesliga before. We’ll be keeping an eye on the situation to see if we can get confirmation of a deal - as of now (almost 11 AM here in the District), Manchester City still hasn’t signed anything, so we could be back to the drawing board this weekend.