Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke at length to the Münchner Merkur (reported by Sport Bild) about transfers and recent transfer targets. Virtually simultaneously as news emerged that Bayern Munich had made a €60 million bid for Leon Bailey, Rummenigge confirmed that Bayern are open to making a big signing on the current market:
We are observing everything; I won’t rule anything out, even a big transfer. We are manned very well from front to back; there is little to no need for more. But if something highly interesting should come on the market, then we will potentially have to occupy ourselves with it.
Asked about the rumored departures of Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Rudy, Rummenigge also did not rule anything out, although he made it clear Bayern have no need to sell:
We have the luxury problem of the fact that no one’s contract is expiring. And we don’t have to sell anyone for financial reasons. Nonetheless, I won’t rule anything out.
Lewandowski: “totally loyal”
Rummenigge also addressed the various rumors that continue to swirl around Robert Lewandowski’s supposed wish to transfer to Real Madrid. The Bayern chairman betrayed no signs of concern:
I view it really as relaxed as I have said for weeks. We have contracts—and in my experience they are kept at Bayern.
Rummenigge dismissed questions about a meeting between Lewandowski and his agent Pini Zahavi. According to Rummenigge, Lewandowski’s behavior is “totally loyal”:
And we don’t know who is spreading these rumors. It doesn’t matter anyway. We recently sat down for lunch with Real’s front office twice—and not a word was said about Lewandowski.
The drift of recent news thus seems to be confirmed: Lewandowski will play for Bayern next season.
The future of Gnabry and Goretzka
Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka will reinforce Bayern’s loaded roster next season, but Rummenigge views neither of them merely as backups. Concerning Gnabry, who thrived this season on loan to Hoffenheim, Rummenigge judged his development as “very good.” Rummenigge also revealed his own role in the decision to sign Gnabry:
I was a bit of the guiding spirit when we signed him two years ago. I closely watched Germany’s games at the 2016 Olympics. He always gave me the feeling there that that could be a player for Bayern Munich. He has pace, good dribbling, is a goal threat, provides assists. Bremen and Hoffenheim were important steps. He should not be just a backup with us.
Rummenigge sees a fierce battle ahead for Goretzka, who has to “assert himself in a strong midfield”:
He is an exciting player, but not yet at the level he can reach. He has the potential to become a world-class player at Bayern.
If Bayern intend to make that mission slightly easier for Goretzka by moving on from one of his many competitors, they are keeping their Schafkopf cards close to their chest.