Before Saturday’s match vs. Freiburg, word leaked out from several sources that FC Bayern had reached an agreement in principle to buy Monchengladbach CB Dante. The transfer period is long over, but the word was that Bayern had reached a deal that would bring Dante in over this upcoming summer, and then get him on a new contract that would keep him at the Allianz Arena until 2016. Well, over the last day, these rumors have been refuted (although there is clearly something to the story). Soccerway’s headline reads "Dante Dashes Bayern Transfer Rumours" and says that the player has "dismissed" reports of a deal. Goal.com’s India edition is a little more cautious, saying that no transfer has been completed, but noting that Dante considers Bayern "a world-class club" and hinting at ongoing talks.
Starting from the beginning - Dante is Dante Bonfim Costa Santos, the 28-year old defender from Bahia, Brazil. He’s an energetic player known for his ability on balls in the air and for his wild hair (sometimes worn in braids, but usually in a big blowout). He’s one of the major reasons ‘Gladbach’s defense has been so improved this season - their 13 goals allowed are best in the Bundesliga. He’s also decent at getting forward; while not a goal-scoring specialist, he does have 8 goals in 3 seasons in Germany, and his height means he can be dangerous on a header if the other team leaves him alone. Here’s some footage:
Pretty good touch on some of those long passes forward. He has that tall guy’s goofy way of running, but when he really cuts into a full sprint, he covers ground quickly.
As far as his usefulness to Bayern - I personally think he’d fit in well, because we need both talent and depth at CB. The first question that popped into my mind is, “OK, is he better than Badstuber?” Holger has been inconsistent this year, he doesn’t have great speed, and sometime I think he’s reached his peak at age 22. But then I think, well, he’s played pretty well once he was put into a definite position (part of a CB duo along with Boateng) - do we need an upgrade there? But then I realize “hey, van Buyten isn’t getting any younger, and Boateng plays some fullback in addition to CB - we definitely need another CB, even if he’s not going to start every match.” So I think Dante would be a good addition. He’d probably end up starting often, even if not every match. Against faster clubs, I think he’s less likely to get burned than Badstuber, and certainly less likely than DvB.
So, now that I’ve talked myself into it, the move seems like it might not even happen. ESPN’s Soccernet says ‘Gladbach is “hopeful” over keeping the player on their roster. They want to extend his contract for the same length that Bayern hoped to sign him to. They also quote the player as saying his final decision will be about more than just the paycheck: “If it was only down to money, then I would move to Russia.” Hmmm … does that mean he loves it at BMG, and wouldn’t want to leave for any money? Or does that mean that he’d rather have a better chance to win trophies, and play in the Champions League every year? And, if it’s the second possibility, that still might not rule out staying at ‘Gladbach - with 4 Bundesliga clubs playing CL ball now, he might feel like he has a chance to play on that stage most years without making a move. But some contact has clearly been made between the Bayern board and Dante’s agent; it appears that, right now, the ball is in ‘Gladbach’s court as they try to convince him to stick around. I don’t imagine we’ll hear anything for sure for the next few days, but I wouldn’t be stunned to hear this spting that a deal had been worked out to bring him to München. We’ll be tracking this all week and trying to stay on top of which way the winds are blowing.
Preview of the Basel match coming tomorrow. If you have anything you want to see included in that, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.