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Bayern Munich weighs transfers for Vidal, Thiago, Boateng and others

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Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara, Renato Sanches, Juan Bernat, and Jerome Boateng have all been linked to an exit from Munich over the past few weeks, but just how likely is it that any or all of them remain with the club?

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Per a report in SZ, Bayern Munich is still active in the transfer market. The overly crowded central midfield situation appears to the driving force behind Die Roten’s willingness to discuss player movement, but a few other positions could see adjustments as well.

The competition among nine players (Thomas Müller, James Rodriguez, Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Sebastian Rudy, Corentin Tolisso, Leon Goretzka, and Renato Sanches) for three spots (if Niko Kovač uses a traditional alignment) is nice depth, but also a potential disaster in terms of locker room harmony.

Arturo Vidal

Vidal is one of the club’s most popular players, but Bayern’s congestion in the midfield has given the team’s brass an option to shop the box-to-box terror.

For example, word is from those close to Chilean Arturo Vidal, 31, that the midfielder is already having his people check a few foreign options. Vidal, whose contract in Munich runs until 2019, could chase his ‘one last big contract’ elsewhere; and at FC Bayern word is that the Bavarians would not have terribly much against it. Vidal has had his time at Bayern and his value for this club; not impossible that both parties part ways soon with a few warm words.

Vidal would bring Bayern a friendly transfer fee, but he would especially do the new coach a favor by leaving.

Although Niko Kovač naturally likes fearless midfielders . . . Salihamidzic views it as “the club’s duty to provide the coach with a squad that does not contain pre-programmed discontent.”

BFW Analysis: Vidal has many tremendous attributes as a player, from his skill to his physicality to his intensity; the primary issue is probably how he would react to a diminished role on the squad. Although no longer in his physical prime, Vidal still has plenty to offer any team needing a world-class, central midfielder. Both he and the club would presumably be happy to move on rather than see him benched in the midfield congestion.

Renato Sanches

In one of the more surprising anecdotes within the story, SZ asserts that several Premier League teams have called to inquire about Sanches, but Bayern seems eager (at least publicly) for its Portuguese Prodigal Son to remain home in an effort to salvage its investment. The truthfulness of Bayern’s assertion could instantly be called into question, however, as the aforementioned midfield logjam could easily be lessened with another loan spell for the underachieving Sanches.

For now, though, Salihamidzic told SZ that the challenge of saving Sanches has awoken Kovac’s ambition to revive the prospects of this gifted but still very raw talent.

BFW Analysis: One the surface, the “desire” to retain Sanches in the hopes of resurrecting his career in-house seems noble for a club that significantly invested in the future of the one-time prodigy. However, the statements could also have been released strategically in an effort to bolster any potential transfer interest where there had previously been little.

Thiago Alcantara

As recently as yesterday, reports circulated that FC Barcelona had cooled its jets on pursuing Thiago, but the savvy and creative midfielder is another veteran who could fall victim to the crowded midfield group.

The Spaniard Thiago has also repeatedly been linked to his home club FC Barcelona, “but of course we’re counting on him in our plans,” says Salihamidzic before ominously adding that there will be a “very interesting competition with nine midfielders” on the roster.

BFW Analysis: When healthy, Thiago is among the more creative and stable forces patrolling the midfield in Europe. Health, however, has been a concern and with such tremendous depth at the position, it could be difficult for any player to re-gain a spot if he misses significant time due to an ailment.

You could easily read between the lines of Sallihamidzic’s comments to SZ to conclude that Bayern is somewhat more reluctant to sell Thiago than Vidal. While Vidal seems like an easy sale, Bayern will only let Thiago go for a good offer. The rumored price tag of €60-70 million on Thiago’s head may be the biggest obstacle in finding a landing spot for the skilled Spaniard.

Juan Bernat

The case of Bernat is one where both sides appear to be agreed that the player needs a fresh start elsewhere. Bernat, while talented, appeared to take big steps back last season as he was anchored on the bench in Munich.

Salihamidzic told SZ,

I have also read that there are interested parties, and one thing indeed is clear: Juan hasn’t really been able to establish himself with us in four years. I think he sees it the same way, and it won’t get easier for him this year.

BFW Analysis: Bayern is ready to move on from Bernat, despite not having a like-for-like replacement available. Linked to both AC Milan’s Ricardo Rodriguez and Porto’s Alex Telles, Bayern could also invest money elsewhere by leaning on Rafinha as a back-up left back to David Alaba, while using Sebastian Rudy as a backup to Joshua Kimmich on the right side. Already linked to VfL Wolfsburg, Bernat could find a new home in Germany if things break right.

Jerome Boateng

The case of Boateng is fascinating in that, when healthy, he is among the top central defenders in the world; but he is surrounded by two other excellent defenders in erstwhile veteran Mats Hummels and young star-in-the-making Niklas Süle. With Lars Lukas Mai in tow and Bayern also heavily linked to both Matthijs de Ligt and Benjamin Pavard (potential 2019 transfer), Bayern appears to be open to assist Boateng in finding a new home abroad.

Salihamidzic said,

The current status is that we are starting the season with Jerome, but Jerome has expressed certain ideas as is well known, and if a serious offer is made for him, we will listen to it.

BFW Analysis: Boateng’s future is likely linked to just how much value Bayern places on the German ineternational on the market. Die Roten is rumored to be asking €50-60 million for Boateng, but has been unable to find a buyer at that price. If the price drops, however, there would likely be several interested parties from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, and Ligue 1. Another factor that may determine Boateng’s future is the potential alignment under Niko Kovač. If Kovač opts for a back three formation, Boateng’s value to Bayern would be significantly enhanced.