Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has been the subject of much criticism this season. Already under fire for an uncharacteristically quiet summer transfer window, pressure on Brazzo has increased tremendously following Bayern’s poor start to the season — their worst since 2010 under Louis van Gaal.
In an interview with Welt am Sonntag (via Bild), the former FC Bayern fullback once again chose to defend his record, saying:
In my work thus far, I’ve probably made a bigger difference than my predecessors in their entire tenure at Bayern Munich.
While the statement itself is not provably false, it will be met with a degree of incredulity from those that are familiar with the Rekordmeister, given what has transpired this season. It doesn’t help that Brazzo’s predecessor was Matthias Sammer, widely considered to be one of the best in the business. Following that act was always going to be tough. When you say that you’ve done more than predecessors, it’s best to have something to show to back it up.
So far, all Brazzo has to show is the acquisition of Alphonso Davies and almost nothing else. To be fair, the sporting director is supposed to work in the background, where his impact cannot easily be seen. Brazzo alluded to this fact in describing his real responsibilities:
I not only take care of the professional team, but also have to manage the development of the squad, (...) develop a suitable scouting system, and direct the youth education.
Brazzo also noted that the bosses listen to him and value his opinion, contrary to rumors that allege he lacks the same degree of authority as his predecessors:
In some situations, I’ve made my self very clear and have also convinced Uli and Kalle of my view. Everyone in the club knows that I’m no pushover and can get my way.
A future Kahn chairmanship?
As a side-effect of the intense media scrutiny on Brazzo, rumors about Oliver Kahn joining the Bayern management team have him billed as a candidate to join Bayern’s board first as a “director of sport” (Sportvorstand), which would effectively put him in charge of Salihamidzic. Matthias Sammer had been both — “sporting director” (Sportdirektor) and the equivalent on the executive board (Sportvorstand). Philipp Lahm, for instance, supposedly turned down the opportunity to become sporting director precisely because Bayern was unwilling to give him the equivalent position on the board.
As for Kahn possibly becoming the board’s director of sport, Brazzo rejected the rumor out of hand:
Of course I can imagine working with Olli. But working under a director of sport is out of question for me. Uli Hoeneß explained very clearly that Oliver Kahn could replace the chairman, i.e. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, if he should retire at some point.
Clearly, if there’s any threat to his authority, Brazzo has no interest in talking about it, but what he says is most likely the truth. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s desire to retire has been well documented, and while he has yet to make a decision on his future, his contract does run out in 2019. In that case, one can see Oliver Kahn being made his replacement, given his ties to the club.
The statements made by Brazzo in his interview do read like a man desperately trying to change the media narrative surrounding him. Unfortunately, the only thing that will make the rumors go away is results. If he wants to be known as a proper sporting director, Brazzo needs to take charge in a manner that is visible and easily felt.
A better media presence would be a nice start. Winter signings would also be welcome. Blockbuster summer signings (Frenkie de Jong? Matthias de Ligt?) would be the icing on the cake. All Bayern Munich fans want is results. If Brazzo can deliver them, then he can expect the criticism to finally go away.