The opening of the 2015 summer transfer window is now just days away. As Bayern try to plan their transfer negotiations in what should be a busy summer, it is a good time to look back at the recent transactions to see how their transfer policy has played out.
We start with the summer in 2012, a pivotal one for the Rekordmeister after coming in second in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and UEFA Champions League. Some where questioning then manager Jupp Heycnkes's ability to take Bayern to the pinnacle, but more importantly, his squad needed a lot of work.
In Matthias Sammer's first season as the club's sporting director, Bayern ended up with a net spend of €69.8 million in transfer fees, the highest net spend the club had ever had. Several of the players who came to the club in 2012 have now moved on, while the others may not be at the club much longer. At the time, though, it was exactly what Bayern needed in terms of their personnel.
Dante Bonfim Costa Santos (€4.7 million, Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Activating the €4.7 million release clause on an above average center back seemed like a no brainer, and boy did the transfer pay dividends. Dante has not repeated the heroics of his first season though, and recent mistakes have brought his Bayern future into question just a year after signing a contract extension. No matter what his place in the side currently may be, one has to appreciate what the Brazilian has done for the price Bayern had to pay.
Mario Mandžukić (€13 million, VfL Wolfsburg)
Mandžukić's transfer from Wolfsburg came partially in conjunction with Mario Gómez's injury issues, but his play made Gómez expendable. He refreshed the striker position for Bayern, who needed to move on from the aging Miroslav Klose and Ivica Olić. The investment in a quality back-up striker worked swimmingly at the time, but whether that would work again with Robert Lewandowski up front is another question entirely.
Javier Martínez Aginaga (€40 million, Athletic Bilbao)
An important wrinkle of this transfer is Athletic Bilbao were not willing to relinquish their young defensive midfielder unless Bayern were willing to meet their buyout clause. For the versatile defender Martínez is, the investment largest investment Bayern has ever made looks scrupulous, but injuries have made the move more unconvincing. The success the club has achieved since his arrival is no coincidence, granting them the benefit of the doubt in similar sizable expenditures in the future.
Claudio Pizarro (Free Transfer, Werder Bremen)
The move may have looked like a minor one, Bayern bringing in a 33-year-old striker at the end of his career, but it was he who really provided depth security up front. However, even with his stellar second season, he was not a player Bayern relied upon when player fitness became an issue. Coming off a season full of injury, Pizarro's activities with the Peruvian national team may be the last of his career, but he has showed he can still bring it.
Lukas Raeder (Free Transfer, Schalke 04 U19)
While the goalkeeper mix was pretty irrelevant with such players as Oliver Kahn and Manuel Neuer at the club, Bayern's plans at the position have followed a distinct trend. Raeder was part of that trend, a young goalkeeper low on the pecking order at Schalke with Ralf Fährmann and Lars Unnerstall making the move to the first team. Signing a player like Raeder to a professional contract, even if he was the third or fourth goalkeeper in the pecking order, was a low risk move that could have brought them high dividends if things developed a certain way.
Xherdan Shaqiri (€11.8 million, FC Basel 1893)
The Shaqiri acquisition was a nice bet to take on a young player coming out of a Basel system that housed much of the new golden generation for Switzerland. Not only that, but he had the potential to be the next generation of wing players Bayern could rely on for years to come. Although he has since left the club, the Rekordmeister could be looking for a similar type of player these days as the "Robbery" days get more numbered.
Tom Starke (Free Transfer, Hoffenheim)
Starke was the other piece of the goalkeeping puzzle, providing Bayern with an established reserve goalkeeper while Hoffenheim put all their eggs in the Tim Wiese basket. It was a role he had never embraced before though, and he put up questionable performances in spot duty when Neuer needed a breather. He was able to establish momentum in the 2014 preseason, but injuries prevented him from establishing himself as Neuer's No. 2. Now 34, he may be considering retirement as if his fitness struggles do not dissipate.
Mitchell Weiser (€800,000, 1. FC Köln U19)
The transfer at the time was a coup; Bayern had been poaching top German talent from clubs for years, but now they were starting to infiltrate the youth levels. Weiser was hailed as the next German winger, and got a consistent run in with the reserves before being shipped to Kaiserslautern on loan. Weiser of course has now left the club, but his time with Bayern was still worth the opportunity cost for the Rekordmeister.
Breno Vinicius Rodrigues Borges (Personal Issues)
This of course is the definition of a Shakespearean tragedy, one Bayern fans know by heart by now. He was handed a three-and-a-half-year sentence for arson, one that forced him to deport from Germany once his prison sentence was over. He was just the second player Bayern ever purchased straight from Brazil, and he was a center back prospect that is now trying to put his life back together with FC São Paolo.
Hans Jörg Butt (Retirement)
Even before Neuer came to town, then manager Louis van Gaal was trying to faze out Butt for the likes of Thomas Kraft. Butt did become a back up, but it was only because Bayern had moved for the most enticing goalkeeping prospect in the world. Butt was just a blip in terms of Bayern's goalkeeping history, but he provided Bayern with exactly what they needed before the club once again employed the world's best goalkeeper.
Nils Petersen (Loan, Werder Bremen)
Petersen was the original high-upside backup when Bayern used to employ three strikers in their squad. With Mandžukić on his way to town, there was no way he was ever going to get a significant look in his second season under Jupp Heynckes. He then seized the opportunity to get Bundesliga experience at Bremen, who was trying to get younger at the position, and had to watch Bayern win the treble without him.
Danijel Pranjić (Free Transfer, Sporting Lisbon)
A squad player acquired in the van Gaal administration, Pranjić quickly saw his future with Bayern was coming to a resounding end. He thus tried to move to Everton in the January window, but that deal fell through. He thus used his free agency to move to Sporting Lisbon, and has since played for Celta Vigo and Panathanakos in Greece while trying to prolong his career as a left back with Croatia.
Ivica Olić (Free Transfer, VfL Wolfsburg)
Even when Mandžukić was still wearing green, Olić was getting attention from Wolfsburg with his contract due to expire. Once Mandžukić moved to Munich, Olić got more minutes with Wolfsburg than he ever did as Gómez's backup. Bayern were getting a tad seasoned at the striker position and wanted to take advantage of these deep trophy runs, so not bringing back Olić was a foregone conclusion.
Takashi Usami (Loan Return, Gamba Osaka)
In Usami, you are looking at the last first team loan player Bayern has ever brought into the club. It was a fun experiment to try with the Japanese migration into the Bundesliga, but Usami did not give Bayern any reason to make the deal permanent. He has since played with the foreign talent aggregators Hoffenheim, but has spent most of his career back in the J-League – probably at the level he belongs.
As part of their striker search, Bayern also reportedly looked into acquiring Edin Džeko or Olivier Giroud from Manchester City or Montpellier respectively. The citizens denied approaches from Bayern despite having Sergio Agüero, Carlos Tévez, and Mario Ballotelli at the time, and Giroud eventually opted to move to Arsenal for €12 million. In the end, it may have been a good thing Bayern did not acquire either of those players, for they may not have fit the type of football the Bavarians played over the next three seasons.
Lars Bender was also supposedly on the wish list, but Bayer Leverkusen's Rudi Voller tried to scare clubs away from both Bender and André Schürrle by deeming them both €50 million players. Bayern moved for Martínez instead, who is probably the more versatile option if one were to look retrospectively. Sammer was also keen on bringing a teenager named Hakan Çalhanoglu from Karlsruher SC, but the Turkish forward eventually migrated to Hamburger SV before moving again to Leverkusen last summer.
Professional Contracts for Youth Players
Poached from the Eintracht Frankfurt academy team, Can had already established himself as a leader and an imposing force. He captained the Germany U17 team that won the UEFA U17 Euro Championship, and was playing regularly with the Bayern reserves as a 17-year-old. In Can's first season as a pro, Heynckes gave him some looks at the end of the season, experience that may have facilitated the move to Champions League competitors Bayer Leverkusen.
The professional contract Weihrauch received was a more glamorous story than it probably should have been, for Bayern were only handing the U19 player a two-year deal. He went to the reserves after that, but never made a first-team appearance during the life of his pro contract. Once his contract expired last summer, Weihrauch eventually signed a reserve contract, and has taken an opportunity to train with SV Sandhausen since.