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Daniel van Buyten on the Way Out? (UPDATED)

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Good evening Bayern fans, and good morning to the Bayern fans on the opposite side of the globe. A few items to wade through today:

- We got a number of really smart, well-thought out responses to yesterday’s post regarding possible formations. Some e-mails and comments are still coming in, so we haven’t compiled the final tally yet. Over the weekend or on Monday, we will post a big column will all of the votes/ideas/criticisms, and see which formation is preferred overall. Clearly, every formation will have some strong points and some disadvantages, but we’re going to dig deep into the comment section and discern what would be best for the club overall, in the view of the fans. Quick preview: not too many people liked my idea for a 3-2-1-3-1.

- If you’re subscribed to our twitter feed at http://twitter.com/bayern_offside, you saw us mention today the possibility of Udinese defender Cristián Zapata coming to Bayern.  Apparently either Zapata or his agent hinted that he will probably leave Udinese within the next few weeks, either to Liverpool or to Bayern.  I haven’t had a chance to watch many Udinese games, so I can’t say for sure what we would be getting, although from what I read he’s a solid defender.  If you’ve seen him play before, we’d love to hear your thoughts on his game, and on how he compares to Boateng, Alex, Simon Kjaer, or other targets at the CB position.

- Finally, an unconfirmed but very believable story from Inside Futbol says that Russian side Zenit St. Pete is interested in buying Daniel van Buyten.  No terms were discussed, but it was said to involve “a lucrative offer.”

We talked about the possibility of DvB moving on back in early May.  A brief recap: he clearly doesn’t have super quickness, and at 33 years old he could be said to be on the downward side of his career.  But he’s still a tough defensive presence in the box, especially on set pieces, plus he played well over the last 3 or 4 games.  He certainly brings a veteran presence and is well-known as a leader in the training grounds.  Still, going into a season in which we hope to win multiple trophies and compete with the best teams in the world, most fans seemed agreed that we didn’t want him starting at CB.

So, there are really two questions to answer: first, even if not a starter, what kind of minutes would he be getting?  Would he be the first CB sub and get an occasional start, or would he be buried deep on the bench?  And second, would he be satisfied with that role, or would he rather start for a slightly less elite (but still good) team?

The Zenit offer, if it really exists, will force those questions to be answered.  It seems clear that Nerlinger wants a new CB (and we all want one, too).  It could be Boateng, it could be Zapata, it could be some awesome, expensive option like Chiellini, and it hopefully won’t be Alex.  But either way, van Buyten most likely won’t be in the starting line-up next year.

Now - if he wants to stay, that’s the end of it; Bayern can’t sell him without his consent.  But if Zenit offers to not only make him a starter, but also to rip up his contract and give him a new deal with a higher salary and/or more guaranteed years, he has to be tempted.  At 33, this could be his last chance to cash in with a new contract.  And Zenit is in the Champions League this year.  In fact, they’re already qualified for the group stage, unlike us.  So it’s not like he’s being sent to some faraway scrub team.

But, DvB has also always struck me as the kind of guy who likes Bayern.  We know he’s good friends with Ribery, and he has to realize that Bayern gives him a greater chance at getting to the CL Final this year.  So there’s a good chance nothing will come of this, and van Buyten will still be in the fold when the new pre-season starts in 2 weeks.

I had a paragraph here about how Bayern was possibly going to face several ex-teammates in this year's CL, but reader Jeppehe pointed out that Lazio (Miro Klose's new outfit) just barely missed the CL.  So, just pretend you didn't see this.  Thanks, Jepp.

Anyway, stay tuned for more on the transfer market, and leave your thoughts on Zapata if you’ve ever seen him play.  Thanks for reading.