It's official. Mats Hummels is now a Bayern Munich player. The 28-year-old Borussia Dortmund captain put pen to paper and cleared the last pedantic hurdle just days after losing in the DFB Pokal. It's been a move that's been a long time in the rumoring -- seasons it seems like sometimes-- and it features "the one that got away" and his proverbial homecoming.
But this homecoming comes with the shortest of leashes.
Not from Bayern Munich where Karl Heinz Rumenigge has said, "not only are we strengthening our squad with a world-class centre-back, but also with a player who accepts responsibility and who is our own youth product. ". To Bayern, this is the move to close the circle on one of their prized academy gems. A player who left due to internal politics rather than a lack of love for the club.
And nor is it likely a short leash from Hummels himself who has endured endless criticism from the Dortmund fans who believed in him to lead their club to the next level. The player immune to the pulls of Bayern due to his past history and who had sunk himself into Dortmund itself. Hummels himself knows the stakes and he -- hopefully -- knows he can reach the expectations.
The short leash is going to come from us, Bayern Munich's fans. Because his history with Bayern Munich is already long, storied, full of frustration and heartbreak and at times downright rude or disrespectful remarks, feelings are right at the surface.
Quitting Bayern Munich is at a single moment both unthinkable and completely reasonable. Quitting Bayern Munich to lead their biggest rival to two league titles, including a embarrassing trophyless triple-elimination in 2012 when Bayern was on the verge of their first treble in history? Not well received. Add in his usual curtness and you have the recipe for a player who is equal parts villain and equal parts long wayfared son.
Dwelling up past memories never sits right and the Mats Hummels and Bayern Munich have a lot of history. Some Bayern Munich fans may never forgive him; some will love him. But for many of us his leash will be shorter than any. But love it, hate it, or tolerate it, Mats Hummels is officially going to be wearing red come July.