Christian Falk (@cfbayern) of Sport Bild has his finger on the pulse of all things Bayern Munich and he recently revealed Bayern’s less than exciting transfer plans. In an interview with @iMiaSanMia he touched on everything from the futures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery to Benjamin Pavard. Along with the likes of Christian Pulisic and Leon Bailey and potential outgoings from the Bavarian capital.
Falk claimed that manager Niko Kovac personally confirmed the squad remains too big and would only consider replacing the likes of Juan Bernat, if the Spaniard were to leave Munich. Despite reports to the contrary, Thiago remains on the chopping block.
Thiago is interested in a transfer to Madrid. He would like to return to Spain. FC Bayern would also let him go if there is a top offer for him.
Although the Bayern brass have voiced a commitment to Thiago, the willingness to consider an offer for the player may lie in the glut of talent that still remains in the midfield even with the departure of Arturo Vidal. Depth may result in the offloading of the world class midfielder, if the price is right.
In what might come to the chagrin of most fans, the future of Robbery is still undecided regarding the 2019/20 campaign.
I think there will be discussions again at the end of this season. Both players want another year. The decision is open.
Despite reports that this would be the last year and Munich for the two legendary wingers, the decision will be revisited at the close of this season, much like it was last campaign. Some fans may feel is time for these two to be put out to pasture after such illustrious careers, but neither Robben nor Ribery is known for their acquiescent personalities.
Falk also touched on potential replacements, in addition to Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman and Alphonso Davies, including Barcelona’s Malcom and Bundesliga products Pulisic and Bailey.
The club watched Pulisic, Bailey and Malcom. Malcom is at Barcelona. Pulisic and Bailey prefer the Premier League. Bayern already bought Alphonso Davies. With Gnabry and Coman there are also two young players in the squad. Perhaps nothing happens until 2019 for the wing position.
On a brighter note, however, Falk confirmed what Bayern fans have known for some time. Pavard will arrive in 2019. The young French defender will have an extra season to develop in Stuttgart before filling the void left by the possible departure of Jerome Boateng.
The club has already made the deal perfect, but the statutes do not allow them to officially confirm it now. Pavard will certainly play for Bayern from 2019.
The Sport Bild reporter effectively gave fans a good news-bad news synopsis of the transfer window, so how should Bayern supporters feel?
Fans of Die Roten collectively groaned reading Falk’s comments on incoming and maybe even outgoing transfers, but I am here to tell you that Bayern have played this transfer market perfectly. Offloading aging and/or valuable players, integrating youth and demonstrating patience for the future are they key takeaways from this transfer window. Rather than spending big the Bavarian giants have not only set themselves up for a successful season, they have also set themselves up for a seamless and amicable transition.
Offloading aging/ high value players
Depending on the report you believe Arturo Vidal was sold to FC Barcelona for €30m, just €7.5m less than Bayern paid to get the Chilean from Juventus. In what has gone under the radar due to the nature of the move, the Rekordmeister received an additional €40m for the sale of Douglas Costa to Juventus. €70m for two players who had fallen out of the first team plans. Not bad.
In addition to the departure of Costa and Vidal, Bayern are considering transfers for Jerome Boateng and Thiago if the right price is offered. Although it would be disappointing to lose either, if the reported price tags of €50 and €70 million are to be believed, Die Roten would make a significant profit without significantly weakening the team. Not to mention easing the tension building around Kovac’s impending selection crisis. The reinvestment of this transfer bounty will be addressed shortly.
Bayern have been linked with a host of young players including, Pulisic, Bailey, Ante Rebic, Anthony Martial and Benjamin Pavard, but Hasan Salihamidžić and co. have demonstrated restraint and trust in the young players Bayern has on the books. Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Niklas Sule, Leon Goretzka, Renato Sanches and Corentin Tolisso will be given the opportunity to integrate into the first team under the guidance of the likes of Mats Hummels and Boateng (maybe), Javi Martinez, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski, among others.
Rather than stockpiling youth, the Bavarians are focusing on developing it. Allowing Gnabry and Coman (and Davies in January) minutes and the mentorship of Robbery is perfect for their development. Adding another winger would create another selection issue and possibly foster animosity between the old and the new.
Avoiding this animosity will help Kovac to effectively manage his squad and also allow for an increasing reliance on youth instead of a hostile takeover or overhaul that excludes Bayern legends from the process.
So now that Bayern have accumulated quite a transfer bounty, spending €10m on Davies and €0 on Goretzka, the bank remains full. So what should Bayern do with these funds?
Sit on them. Wait.
Kovac and Bayern’s hierarchy already believe the squad is too big, so there is no rush to make it even bigger. The Bavarians would do well to continue with this blend of youth and experience allowing Bayern’s young stars to develop, while also allowing potential targets to do the same. Bailey and Pulisic would be ill-served if they moved to Munich this summer because it is hard to improve on the bench. The same can be said for Pavard or any other young talent linked with a move.
But when Robben, Ribery, Boateng, Bernat and possibly others are off the books in Bavaria, the strong remaining core of world class talent and availability of high-level playing time will be appealing to the next generation of stars.
Bayern Munich have played the market perfectly. If the Bayern brass can keep their nerve this strategy will pay off for Kovac and supporters everywhere.
Do you agree with the Bavarian’s transfer strategy?