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Bayern Munich must push forward in this era of spending

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There’s no turning back.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

At the start of next season, there will be three teams projected by many to win the UEFA Champions League: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid. While teams like Juventus, Atletico Madrid, and even Chelsea will be mentioned as contenders, there’s no doubt that Europe’s three biggest clubs will be right back in the battle for the continent’s most prestigious award. Consistency builds success.

However, money also builds success — sort of. We’ve seen the big spending English trio of Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City flounder to establish themselves among Europe’s elite clubs in recent years, the Bavarians the Spanish duo have not hesitated to splash the cash.

I took it upon myself to find the transfer fees spent by Bayern, Barca, and Real since the summer of 2012. Of course, these are rough estimates with the best available information.

Bayern Munich

Spent: €319 million
Sold: €185.5 million
Net: - €133.2 million

Barcelona

Spent: €470.1 million
Sold: €187.4 million
Net: - €282.7 million

Real Madrid

Spent: €437.2 million
Sold: €316.2 million
Net: - €121.1 million

As you can see, while Bayern have spent a good €115-150 million less than their Spanish rivals, their net transfer spend is worse than Real’s (but far better than Barcelona. I mean, we should ask, “Is Barcelona bad in the transfer market?”).

The reason I bring this up is to discuss a lot of the recent incoming transfer rumors surround Bayern. There are reports that Bayern are willing to spend €65 million to sign Alexis Sanchez, €60 million to sign Marco Verratti, and a (quite frankly) ludicrous bid of €40 million to sign Kyle Walker.

You’re well aware that we try to bring mostly realistic transfer rumors (unless they’re completely silly like previous years Leo Messi and Wayne Rooney transfers) to reporting here at Bavarian Football Works. That’s mostly because so much of what is out there is utter nonsense and a way for the tabloids of Europe to earn clicks. However, we’re getting to a point in this transfer game where some of these crazy high amounts might have some legitimacy to them.

The transfer market has been changing for years with the two Spanish giants and several English clubs ruining the power of truly good scouting and negotiating. Money has a way of ruining things. You can look at the fact that Real Madrid just reportedly spent roughly €40 million on a 16 year Brazilian that made his first team debut last month as the perfect example of this.

Bayern are at the point now in this rat race that they have to begin rethinking their normal operating procedures. Eight of Bayern’s top ten most expensive transfers have been made in this previously discussed five year window. However, that €40 million record for Javi Martinez will likely need to be broken a couple of times over the next several years if Bayern plans on maintaining their spot as one of the regular Champions League title challengers.

And, while building a robust and elite youth academy should be the club’s aspiration with all of the restructuring taking place in Munich, we must be realistic of what these academies mean for club’s that have reached the stratosphere that Bayern have reached.

The last academy player to make a truly big impact in the Bayern first team was David Alaba. Since that time, we’ve seen only a few players (Emre Can, Pierre Hojbjerg, and kind of Gianluca Gaudino) make any kind of impact in the first team before being shipped out of Munich. However, with Bayern now moving toward an ultra-competitive “win everything all the time” mode and a coach like Carlo Ancelotti, there are fewer opportunities than ever for young players to develop at the club. Gaudino’s loan at St. Gallen is up this summer. He’s never going to play another minute for Bayern. Sell him and move on.

This will be the standard for a successful youth academy for Bayern moving forward.

1) Mold a youth player.
2) Loan him out to a a lower quality club.
3) Hope he continues to develop.
4) See if he’s good enough for the first team when the loan ends.
5) Put him in the first team or sell him.
6) Repeat the process.

This is where Bayern’s board must come to the realization that they can’t be afraid to pull the trigger on any big transfers that might break the budget. If Paris Saint-Germain are holding out for €60 million for Verratti and you deem him necessary, spend the €60 million.

Spending €30 million on unproven prospects like Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches is just the way the game is run these days. The club needs to be ready and willing to spend double or more to secure the services of one of the game’s elite players.

We don’t want this club to slowly turn into Arsenal.