Thomas Müller, the man practically synonymous with modern Bayern Munich, is at a turning point in his career. At 30 years old, he’s having his statistically best season ever, but he has yet to be offered a contract extension by the club. While rumors of possible discontent pile up behind the scenes, and the Bayern bosses eye the youthful Kai Havertz as a potential replacement, could der Raumdeuter’s days be numbered?
Probably not, if Hansi Flick can help it. Speaking to Sport Bild, the Bayern coach touched on a number of topics regarding his club. Müller’s situation naturally came up.
Q: Is it hard to imagine going forward at Bayern without Muller?
A: Those are things that Thomas and the club also have to decide. But in principle about Thomas: He came from the youth academy here. Thomas has reached a certain age in which he won’t play forever anymore.
Thomas is a native son of Bayern and one of the faces of the club. I think that such a player has earned a certain amount of gratitude.
Flick of course is a known admirer of Müller, having worked with him since their Germany days. His very first act after taking over from Niko Kovac was to restore der Raumdeuter to the lineup, which was one of the catalysts for Bayern’s subsequent resurgence. Müller now leads the Bundesliga in assists, and he has even rediscovered his scoring touch.
But that’s not all. Beyond the obvious goals and assists, Hansi Flick also explained what makes Müller so incredibly valuable to the club:
No matter where he goes, Thomas is always a man who stands in the center of attention and is a character in a positive sense. He’s been through everything, has enormous experience, has celebrated so many triumphs, always radiates self-confidence and optimism. He is one of the most successful German players in history.
As a fan, it’s often easy to overlook the intangible aspects of a player’s influence on the team. Müller is known for being a positive and hardworking player, but he’s also a guy who will stand up and lead when the going gets tough. It’s hard to appreciate from a distance, but there’s a reason so many teammates and coaches have praised his attitude over the years.
Of course, that’s not all. There’s the Mia San Mia factor, which Flick alludes to:
Bayern can be happy to have a player like Thomas, who moreover identifies with the club. He always acts in the interest of the team — a factor that you have to take carefully into consideration with new transfers. Concerning the question of what new players one should get, this is elementary for me: Do they stand for the “we”? Do they embody the values of the club? Do they identify with FC Bayern?
It’s clear that Flick wants Müller to get the contract extension, but it’s also tempting to read more into Flick’s words. Bayern notably has been linked with Leroy Sané for the better part of a year, a player who has rumored attitude problems; could the coach be signaling a message? Flick has already said that a coach should have “veto power” over signings. We don’t know his opinion on Sané, but if Flick is alluding to anything specific with these comments, then the Sané transfer would be a decent guess.
Conspiracy theories aside, this is the first time we’ve heard the coach weigh in on Müller’s contract situation, and it definitely helps dispel the rumors of a lack of appreciation for Müller’s abilities. Hopefully the Bayern bosses take the hint and offer him that new contract in the coming weeks.