In two recent interviews, FC Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has spoken out about the future of two of the team’s brightest young stars who have struggled for playing time under coach Carlo Ancelotti: Joshua Kimmich and Renato Sanches.
The interviews respond in part to the increasingly public frustration expressed by Kimmich. Bild quoted the young star as stating, “I'm not happy about [my situation]; it is not satisfactory and also not my ambition.” That may have been misleadingly culled from broader, more moderate statements about his playing time, but the point remains: Kimmich wants to start.
Now Rummenigge has clarified what the club plans for Kimmich. In an interview with Sky Sport News, Rummenigge declared that,
We are planning great things for him in the future. He will be - this is perfectly clear - the successor to Philipp Lahm for us.
Kimmich’s time warming the bench thus will end with the changing of the guard:
Starting next season, he has guaranteed minutes. That, at any rate, is what Carlo Ancelotti has planned.
Shortly after discussing the future of Kimmich, Rummenigge also told SportBILD’s Tobias Altschäffl what the club plans for young Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches. According to Rummenigge, the club views Sanches as the successor to none other than Xabi Alonso, who, like Lahm, will retire at the end season:
Our wish would be that Renato Sanches eventually fills [Alonso's] shoes; that is why we signed him last summer. He has the quality to do so, but we will have to show the necessary patience.
This statement raises more questions than it answers. While Sanches has not received many minutes of play, his performances, whether at Bayern or the Portuguese national team, have little in common with the role filled by Alonso. What more, with Sebastian Rudy set to arrive from Hoffenheim next season, Bayern already have a younger, faster replacement for Alonso who has been a key player in his club’s outstanding Bundesliga season precisely as its defensive midfielder.
If Rudy’s role and experience seem to make him a natural replacement for Alonso, exactly how long-term is the club’s planning with Sanches, and how far will that “necessary patience” stretch before running out?