In a new article for ESPN FC, Raphael Honigstein explains the reasoning behind Bayern Munich’s and identifies two major targets that the front office is currently working hard to land: Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz and Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Hot on the heels of the news that Bayern is apparently prepared to pay €85mil to activate the release clause for Atletico Madrid’s center-back Lucas Hernandez, Honigstein explains that the Bavarians are entering the transfer market early this year in order to avoid direct competition with wealthier — primarily English — clubs this summer. Hernandez may be just the first domino to fall, if the reports pan out.
According to Honigstein, ESPN FC has learned that Bayern are actively pursuing 19-year-old Kai Havertz. Havertz emerged as a striker at Bayer Leverkusen at the age of 17, when he still needed school permission to play on Friday nights. Now at 19, he has settled into his role as a second striker and attacking midfielder. His star has risen so rapidly, he may also be Germany’s ultimate answer to replace Mesut Özil on the national team.
Bayern’s strong interest in Havertz has in turn dimmed the prospects that the club will attempt to sign American star Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund. Although often linked with Bayern Munich, Pulisic is more likely to move to the Premier League, where of course Dortmund would prefer to see him than in a red jersey.
Finally, Bayern are seriously interested in Chelsea’s 20-year-old left winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. Hudson-Odoi is currently playing on Chelsea’s u23 team. He has participated in 10 matches so far this season, logging 725 minutes, 2 goals, and 3 assists. He would have “pace and youth,” and he moreover would cost far less than someone like Timo Werner, who may have already priced himself out of Bayern’s range. Hudson-Odoi’s contract ends in 2020, and he has not yet extended with Chelsea.
In Honigstein’s view, Bayern cannot afford to wait to determine whether Niko Kovac will survive as head coach, but must act now. A second factor in their thinking is that blockbuster transfers could shore up the reputation of sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic, who has been overshadowed by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness in public. A few incoming transfers could also soften the blow if Bayern fail to advance past Liverpool in the Champions League round of 16.