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Investing in youth: Leon Dajaku and Bayern Munich’s “second transfer strategy”

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While the hunt for first-team players continues, Bayern is deeply involved in their ongoing project that involves buying domestic and foreign talents.

Photo by Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Despite the need for a renewed squad, Bayern hasn’t signed a first-team player since the 27th of March. Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently elaborated on his continued distaste for the modern transfer market, stating that Bayern wants to stay true to its own identity. Munich newspaper Abendzeitung, following Kicker’s reports that Bayern wants to buy Stuttgart-talent Leon Dajaku, argues that Germany’s most successful club is pursuing a second transfer strategy.

That new strategy focuses on buying talents between the ages of 16 and 19 years old and giving them first-class development at the Säbener Straße.

Observant fans may have noticed the current trend in many of Bayern’s signings. Alphonso Davies was the only signing to cost money last season when he was bought from Vancouver Whitecaps for around €10 million. For next season, Bayern has signed Jann-Fiete Arp, the 19-year-old striker from HSV, who is currently the only sole striker back-up for Robert Lewandowski. Although Davies and Arp could see some first-team minutes next season, they will most likely also get playing time for the Bayern II team in the third division.

Making fewer headlines than the signings of Davies and Arp were the two 16-year-olds Jamal Musiala and Bright Akwo Array-Mbi. Both players were bought from Chelsea FC, continuing a recent trend of Bundesliga teams snatching British talents. Musiala will be playing for Miroslav Klose’s U-17, while Array-Mbi will be moved to new head coach Martin Demichelis’s U-19. It was also recently reported that Scottish 16-year-old Liam Morrison has agreed to a Bayern move.

So, who is Leon Dajaku? Well, kicker reports that Bayern has been interested in the 18-year-old striker from VfB Stuttgart for quite some time. A German-born striker of Kosovan descent, Dajaku already made his professional debut with Stuttgart last season. While he played only 24 minutes in the Bundesliga, he proved to be a prolific striker for both the U-19 and U-17 team, scoring 41 goals in 61 games. Also capped by Germany’s U-17 and U-18 teams, it is understandable why he is under Bayern’s radar. Kicker mentions that Dajaku would train with the pros and play in the 3.Liga with Bayern II.

None of these talents came for free. However, from Bayern’s perspective, it makes sense to buy four or five talents if one of them can break into the starting eleven in the future. Dutch-Striker Joshua Zirkzee was bought in 2017 from Feyenoord when he was only 16 years of age. After impressing for both the U-17 and U-19 teams, Zirkzee is poised to play an important role for Sebastian Hoeneß’s Bayern II team. David Alaba is another example of how this strategy can be very beneficial in the long-term.

Unlike 19-year-old Joao Felix, whom Atletico Madrid signed for a whopping €126 million and will be expected to perform in his very first game, these youngsters have time on their side. While the spotlight is on the first team, Bayern’s second transfer strategy is well on its way.