Despite first appearances, “Red-White Dynamite” is not an irreverent nickname for Uli Hoeness, but rather a fan club near his native city of Ulm. While taking part in Bayern Munich’s weekend outreach to fan clubs across Bavaria and Germany, Hoeness spoke at length on a number of subjects (via ESPNFC and SportBild), first among them a surprise meeting with Sami Khedira.
Half and hour for Khedira
When reports surfaced that the Juventus Turin midfielder and longtime fixture of the German national team had met with Hoeness, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic was caught off guard and said he knew nothing about it. Hoeness has now confirmed the meeting:
Sami Khedira and I met because his agent, or rather his lawyer, asked me to. He [Khedira] wanted 30 minutes of my time to discuss what he can do at the end of his playing career, so I gave Sami Khedira this half hour.
Hoeness revealed nothing further about the purpose of the meeting - for instance, whether Khedira was inquiring about future employment at Bayern Munich. Anything is possible. Khedira rose to prominence in the Bundesliga with his home team VfB Stuttgart, before transferring to Real Madrid.
Extensions for Robben and Ribery?
Robben and Ribery are currently both one-year contracts that expire at the end of the season. Hoeness indicated that a decision will be made whether to extend their contracts in the first few months of 2018.
Last season the decision [to extend] wasn’t made until February, March or April. I think it will be the same again this season. Then there will be talks. But we won’t ever dump a player, for instance if someone is injured. As for their extensions, we are quite relaxed.
As the season has progressed, Ribery in particular seems unlikely to push Kingsley Coman back onto the bench, and he has also struggled with injury. Many speculate that he may move on, while strong performances by Robben make an extension for the Dutchman more likely.
Hoeness’s statement is not surprising, as Bayern’s loyalty to its veterans is well-known. Only time will reveal whether Bayern extend one, both, or neither of the two.
Naturally, the subject of new signings also came up. Hoeness reiterated that Bayern will not indulge in the same wanton spending as Paris Saint-Germain, while taking a shot at their foremost superstar:
We do not consider ourselves capable of pulling off transfers like Neymar (who I don't think is all that good) or Mbappé (who I think is really good). But if necessary, Bayern will also make a transfer for over €50, €60 or €70 million.
The current record for Bayern and the Bundesliga was set this past offseason, when Bayern paid Lyon €41.5 million for Corentin Tolisso. As the need to replace Robben and Ribery grows more urgent, many anticipate a new record signing in the coming summer transfer window.
At the end of his visit, Hoeness was asked who Bayern's next head coach might be. Heynckes compared hiring Heynckes to “winning the lottery, with the powerball!” Partly in jest - but only partly - Hoeness then held an impromptu vote on whether Jupp Heynckes should stay on a second year. Red-White Dynamite was unanimous (you can watch the scene here):
I conclude: 300 for, 0 against. That is the official result. I will tell Jupp that the fan club Schießamer Red-White Dynamite decided with 300 votes to 0 that he should stay. We'll see what he says about that.
This is not the first time that Hoeness has publicly floated the idea that Heynckes might stay a second season. When Hoeness suggested at Bayern's annual general assembly that it was possible Heynckes could extend, the latter squashed those hopes. “I don't want to comment on this every week,” Heynckes said at the time.
It looks as if Heynckes may soon find himself commenting on Hoeness and his extension schemes yet again.