According to Spanish newspaper AS, Bayern Munich have set their sights on Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca this summer. Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic has reportedly made the Spanish U-21 international a priority target for the current window, allegedly in response to having lost out on Atletico Madrid’s Rodri to Manchester City.
The report is rather speculative and sparse on details, but brings up the fact that Roca has a small €40m release clause that can be triggered by the Bavarians quite easily. Roca has seen his stock rise after playing a strong season with Espanyol and winning the U-21 Euros with Spain.
While Bayern Munich already have a large assortment of midfielders, Roca fits the profile of a ball-playing #6, a type of player reported requested by Niko Kovac. This is likely because, despite Bayern’s large assortment of midfielders, only Thiago Alcantara can claim to be a true deep-lying playmaker, and only Javi Martinez is a proper midfield destroyer. Roca can fill in for both. Therefore, from that angle these rumors make quite a bit of sense.
Since Bayern lost out on Rodri, Roca seems like a perfectly adequate alternative and comes with a very reasonable price tag. Of course, it might be disappointing to some that Bayern failed to land its primary target, but that’s the nature of the transfer market — you have to take the L once in a while.
As for the legitimacy of the report — while we cannot know exactly how committed Bayern are to signing the Espanyol youngster, it’s clear that we’ve been keeping tabs on him. Bild mentioned Roca in their list of “plan-B” names a week ago, and Bayern have been linked with him on and off throughout the summer. If Brazzo has indeed made Roca a priority, we can expect to see some movement on that front very soon — we’ll know if the reports are true soon enough.