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Daily Schmankerl: Juve sees Thiago as Pogba alternative, Früchtl on Augsburg’s radar, Bayern courting Pizarro as club ambassador, and much more!

Juventus Turin is supposedly saying they want “Pogba oder ni . . . Thiago?” Meanwhile, Germany’s U21 coach has confirmed a conversation with Thomas Müller about the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

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Juventus v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round
Paul Pogba and Thiago Alcantara duel in the Champions League Round of 16 almost four years ago, Feb. 23, 2016.
Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Juventus considering Thiago Alcantara as alternative to Paul Pogba (Tuttosport)

Juventus Turin wants Paul Pogba. But can they have them? Well, maybe not. Between injuries and the usual Pogba-drama, the Manchester United midfielder has been having a rough season, not to mention the ongoing dispute between his agent, Mino Raiola, and his coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. And there is competition for his signature, apparently from Real Madrid and “other clubs.”

Ergo, poor Juve has had to consider alternatives. One such option, claims Tuttosport, is our own Thiago Alcantara. Here’s what the Italians have to say:

The former-Barcelona central midfielder has been trying to leave Germany for a few years. And next summer, barring a stunning renewal, could be the right one...

In Spain, they are convinced that his divorce from Bayern will happen in June and that Juventus will be a serious candidate.

Thiago, of course, is one of the senior players at Bayern Munich whose contract expires in 2021. Tuttosport even claims that...

Juve contacted Bayern about a trade of Thiago for Emre Can!

I think I’ll stop there.

Christian Früchtl on Augburg’s radar (Bild, SPORT1)

Bild cites “several factors” that indicate that Früchtl might soon be playing at Bayern Munich’s Swabian neighbors. Früchtl extended recently until 2022, but the consistent word has been that he may soon be loaned out to gain playing time at the top level.

Früchtl obviously would be the third wheel along with Manuel Neuer, incoming understudy Alexander Nübel — not to mention current no. 2 Sven Ulreich. Augsburg’s own recent record transfer Tomas Koubek (signed from Rennes for a fee of €7.5m) has not met expectations. Hence Bild speculates that Früchtl could transfer to Augsburg on loan.

But SPORT1’s Florian Plettenberg poured some cold water on that idea. He wrote:

UPDATE #Früchtl/#FCAugsburg: Yes, Früchtl could imagine a transfer to FCA, if he has a shot at the no. 1. I’ve learned from Augsburg, however, that signing Früchtl is not a hot topic. They have him on their radar, though. @SPORT1

If not Augsburg, then perhaps another Bundesliga contender will snatch up Bayern’s mini-Neuer.

Bayern Munich and Bremen courting Claudio Pizarro as club ambassador (Bild)

Claudio Pizarro is still kicking, but not for long. Once he hangs up his cleats for good, though, Bayern Munich wants their favorite Peruvian back. He played for Bayern from 2001 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2015. There is a lot of love between the two.

Bayern’s head club ambassador Giovane Elber said,

Claudio is a really big topic among us as far as the role of ambassador is concerned. He’s very popular with the Bayern fans, so it’d be nice if he joins us. I already had a conversation with him about it, explained to him what we do. He thought that all sounds good to him. That was a really positive signal, because many players first want to get away from soccer after their active career.

Elber added, however:

I still don’t know, however, what’s next for him. Perhaps he’ll do one more season again. He said we should get together when he has really officially ended his career.

Pizarro has gotten himself into a little trouble with Werder this season, getting caught drinking a beer once, among other things. Perhaps he’s ready to move on, perhaps not.

Elber also told Bild that he will soon speak with both Arjen Robben and Philipp Lahm about becoming club ambassadors. Robben has been enjoying life as the coach of his son’s youth team TSV Grünwald, while Lahm has been preoccupied with preparing Germany to host Euro 2024.

Germany U21 coach confirms talk with Thomas Müller about the Olympics (SPORT1 via Bild)

Could Thomas Müller suit up for Germany once again after his indecorous ouster by Jogi Löw? He might — for the U21 team that will attend the 2020 summer Olympics.

Germany’s U21 coach Stefan Kuntz confirmed that he had spoken with Müller about joining Germany’s Olympic team. He said,

Yes, exactly. I spoke with him. But also with other experienced players with big names. They all say, rightly, that they want to wait until May to see how many games they will have played, what their contract situation is, and whether the Olympics fits in their plans.

That is not exactly a resounding endorsement, but it remains nonetheless a definite possibility that Müller could join the team. Three players born before January 1997 are permitted to join the Olympic team.

Robert Lewandowski chasing Ciro Immobile for the European golden shoe (kicker)

Robert Lewandowski is still scoring at an incredible pace, but he remains in second place in the running for the Golden Shoe across Europe. Lewandowski has scored 23 goals in the Bundesliga, giving him a point total of 46 according to UEFA’s league factor.

First place, meanwhile, belongs to Lazio Rome’s Ciro Immobile, who has scored an incredible 26 goals this season, for a total of 52 points.

Three players currently share third place: Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus Turin, and Erling Haaland. Both Werner and Ronaldo have scored 20 goals for 40 points. Haaland has 16 in the Austrian Bundesliga and already 8 in Germany — but Austria’s league factor of 1.5 reduces his points total to 40. If he keeps on scoring at his incredible pace, he could climb even higher in the rankings.

Uli Hoeness is flying with the team to London (Bild)

For the first time since he stepped down as club president, Uli Hoeness will accompany the team to London, where he will watch Bayern’s away match against Chelsea in person.

Bild adds that Hoeness made his weekly visit to the training grounds at Säbener Strasse on Wednesday and stopped by the cafeteria with Herbert Hainer. He also was able to greet Javi Martinez, who was there working on rehabilitating the muscle injury he suffered against Wolfsburg in late December.

Oliver Kahn wants to know: “What does Mia-san-mia mentality mean to you?” (Tobias Altschäffl/Bild)

One of the things that makes Oliver Kahn already stand out from his fellow board members is the fact that Kahn is active on social media. He regularly posts updates about his doings even on Twitter.

One of his recent tweets, in which he described himself as “getting fresh insights from highly motivated employees of @FCBayern” prompted an interesting insight from Bild reporter Tobias Altschäffl. Altschäffl wrote:

For weeks now Oliver Kahn has been visiting every department of FC Bayern. The astonishing thing: in his conversations with the directors, he has his own list of questions. For example, he wants to know: “What does Mia-san-mia mentality mean to you?”

We have occasionally debated Bayern’s famous motto in the threads here at BFW. It would be incredibly interesting to know how various employees at Bayern, from the department heads down, interpret it.

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