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Daily Schmankerl: Hitzfeld lauds Thomas Müller; Sanches close to a move; and MORE!

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The Champions League finale is later today, so why not read through some Bayern Munich news before you settle in to watch Real Madrid and Liverpool do battle.

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Ottmar Hitzfeld thinks Thomas Müller is primed for a big World Cup (T-Online.de)

Ottmar Hitzfeld, the former Bayern Munich manager and teammate of Uli Hoeneß during his playing days, thinks Thomas Müller is the key to the World Cup tournament for Die Mannschaft.

The player of the tournament will be a German—and Thomas Müller. I trust him, because he is in top condition and has played a sensational Bundesliga season in my view. He also was successful in the Champions League. Thomas Müller can make the difference, scoring a goal from nothing. He has incredibly strong character, is never satisfied.

Muller unquestionably will play a big role in Germany’s hope to repeat as champions. The Bavarian will fill a key role as being the glue holding the crazy amount of individual talent together.

Renato Sanches appears close to heading to Benfica...(A BOLA)

One of the true dividing lines in our comments section is whether you are pro-Sanches or anti-Sanches. In full disclosure, I’m on the anti-Sanches team and it appears that Benfica is on the verge of taking on one of Bayern’s most disappointing transfers.

Benfica intensified negotiations with Bayern for Renato Sanches to return to Luz in a one-year loan scheme. According to A BOLA, at the moment the rates of reimbursement of the 20-year player’s salary are already on the table, that is, the process is already at a very advanced stage.

The holdup, however, is Sanches’ salary.

There is a combination of wills with Renato and Benfica has advanced to the negotiations and are doing everything in their power to secure the hiring, knowing in advance that they will have to make an additional financial effort, since the of the player is around 4 million gross euros per year (about 2 million net). Bayern is showing little flexibility in paying part. Still, the parties continue to rock and the agreement, according to A BOLA, is getting closer and closer.

Bayern appears to not want to take much, if any, of Sanches’ salary; which would be a smart tactic if Benfica will take on the full brunt of it.

or...Sanches could be headed to Napoli to join Carlo Ancelotti LOL (Calciomercato via Gazzetta dello Sport)

If not Benfica, then Sanches could be on to Napoli with our old friend Carlo Ancelotti.

Reports from Gazzetta dello Sport say that new Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti is weighing up a move to sign Bayern Munich midfielder Renato Sanches. The 20-year-old Sanches is now back at Bayern Munich following a failed spell at Swansea in the Premier League, where he made only 12 appearances out of which only nine were starts since joining in the January transfer window.

Sanches seemed to wither under Ancelotti instead of prosper, so this move would seem very odd unless Carlo is looking to bring in some players that he knows to instill some stability. Arturo Vidal has also been linked to Napoli (along with many other clubs), so Ancelotti could be trying to nail down players he is comfortable with.

My take: I would sell Sanches, even at a loss (if I had to). He’s a redundant player on the roster and every central midfielder is currently better than Sanches. With players like Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso representing the next generation of the Bayern central midfield; Sanches will just waste away on the bench in Munich when he’s in the mix with those aforementioned players, along with veterans like Thiago Alcantara, Sebastian Rudy, Javi Martinez, and Vidal. Sometimes it is just best for both parties to move on and now would be a good time for Bayern to cut its losses and see if Sanches can rediscover his game with a fresh start elsewhere. My guess is that Sanches, Bayern, and Benfica will reach a compromise in the coming days and Sanches will get a fresh start in Portugal.

Had the Old Lady passed on Douglas Costa, Manchester United was ready to strike (The Sun)

One of the great things about transfer rumors is that Manchester United is involved in nearly ALL of them. Newly purchased Juventus winger Douglas Costa was the apple of Jose Mourinho’s eye before Juve made its move.

MANCHESTER UNITED are ready to pay the £79million required to land Douglas Costa should Juventus fail to take up the option to to sign him. The Brazilian, 27, joined on loan from Bayern Munich last summer and has been one of the Serie A champions’ stand-out players this season.

The alleged £79million was more than the reported €46 million that Juventus paid to Bayern Munich, but the Old Lady was in the driver’s seat with the first option to purchase Costa after his successful loan stint last season.

Stating what we already knew, Jogi Löw says Neuer is the man if he’s healthy (@Sport_En)