It’s a very strange thing being a fan of Bayern Munich. On the one hand, the media tells you that you support one of the biggest and best clubs in the world, and you should expect all kinds of success to come your way. On the other hand, they also tell you how the club is seconds from disaster at any given moment — like the proverbial elephant in a tree, Bayern are just waiting to be knocked down.
On the surface, there is some truth to both these visions — Bayern indeed lack the incredible financial backing of state-funded conglomerates like Manchester City and PSG, nor can they boast of the insane TV revenue that rains down on clubs playing in the English Premier League. Bayern do not have the same global appeal of clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona — and while Juventus once seemed to be in the same boat, they seemingly hopped out of it when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, none of these forecasts of doom seem to gel with reality. To this day, Bayern seem more capable than ever of competing with the big boys, both on and off the pitch. How do we know? Well, what is a big club, really? One that wins titles? Bayern have those. One that signs talent? Bayern do that in spades. One that keeps it talent? Yes, Bayern do that, too.
There is a popular perception in the media that Bayern cannot keep its talent or are less adept at doing so than other big clubs. However, Florentino Perez, a man who has first-hand experience in trying to pry top talent away from this club, knows better than the media naysayers (Marca):
There are players who don’t get sold.
We went for Lewandowski for several years and nothing happened because he has no clause and they [Bayern Munich] won’t sell him.
Madrid are a team that get what they want. They came to Frankfurt, said, “We want Jovic,” and Frankfurt had to hand him over. They went to London, said, “We want Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard,” and Chelsea were forced to hand them over. When Madrid come calling, lesser clubs oblige — but not Bayern.
And that is the reality of the situation. Barcelona once made noise about bringing Thiago back — Bayern shot that down with a contract extension, directly contradicting the idea that the Bavarians can’t fight off interest from the big boys. Players like Corentin Tolisso, Niklas Süle, Leon Goretzka, and Benjamin Pavard all chose Bayern over other top European clubs, showing the almost-magnetic pull the club has over talent to this day.
Why was this article necessary? Well, in the wake of a less-than-ideal transfer window, the rhetoric of the doomsayers has become more pronounced than ever. Therefore, it is important to retain perspective. Sometimes, you don’t get everything you want — Perez himself (in the quote linked above) was talking about his inability to land Paul Pogba. However, that doesn’t change the stature of the club.
Bayern Munich are still a big club, with big aspirations and the resources to match them. We would do well to remember that.