Thomas Muller playing anywhere other than Bayern Munich may seem unthinkable to everyone, except ... Thomas Muller.
On the heels of Robert Lewandowski criticizing Bayern Munich’s transfer policy, and subsequent rebuke from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Muller told kicker via ESPN FC that he thought about leaving for Manchester United two years ago after a reported €100 million bid when former Bayern manager Louis van Gaal was in charge at Old Trafford.
Muller said that his situation is similar to that of former Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, in terms of being player so closely associated with Bayern’s DNA, who now plies his trade elsewhere. Schweinsteiger first moved to Manchester United and now plays for Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer. Muller was philosophical but realistic about the possibility of leaving Bayern:
"Of course, it's possible. When my time is up, it's up. Schweinsteiger was here for over 10 years and now he's been gone for over two years and another player is here instead.
"It will be exactly the same with me. If I drop dead tomorrow, there will be a funeral, yet on Friday, 11 players will still be out on the pitch. That's life.
"At the moment, I don't think it's going to happen because I am very happy here. However, I'm not saying that somewhere different in the world definitely wouldn't be my thing either.
"If life takes you somewhere else then I would make myself at home there as well. I would follow the same principle as here, enjoying as many good things as possible every day."
Muller, who made his 400th appearance for Bayern in Saturday’s 2-0 Bundesliga loss to Hoffenheim, has struggled to make a consistent impact since current manager Carlo Ancelotti took over for Pep Guardiola at the start of last season.
After playing just 17 minutes as a substitute in last month’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen, Muller said: "I don't know exactly which qualities [Ancelotti] wants to see, but mine seem not to be 100 percent in demand."
Rummenigge told Bild via ESPN FC that Muller should not be satisfied with a place on the bench, but publicly criticizing Ancelotti will not be “tolerated.”
One of the qualities that Ancelotti likely wants to see is Muller’s goal-scoring form he showed during the 2015-16 season, which was Guardiola’s last at Bayern, when tallied 32 goals in 49 games in all competitions. Last season, Muller scored nine goals in 42 games, his first full-time season where has not scored at least 10 goals, and he has yet to strike in five games this season.
It hard to imagine the self-described Raumdeuter exploring space for another club. Muller’s recent comments on whether or his talents are “in demand” by Ancelotti, or the fact he can philosophically envision an exit akin to Schweinsteiger, are cause for the utmost concern though.