Clubs across Europe are going to be losing a significant amount of money while the COVID-19 outbreak has brought all of the top 5 leagues to a standstill. The DFL and DFB announced earlier this week that play will not resume until at least early April. Meanwhile the Football Association of England announced that matches will not resume prior to April 30th, and the German leagues could soon follow suit, resulting in more money lost for every club.
The significant loss of funds could have drastic implications for the summer’s upcoming transfer window, and Bayern Munich’s pursuit of both Leroy Sane and Kai Havertz could be in serious jeopardy (SPORT1). Both players have made it clear, at one point or another, that they want to leave their respective clubs, Manchester City and Bayer Leverkusen, and are both out of contract within the next two years.
Leverkusen manager Peter Bosz recently said that Die Werkself would be looking for at least €100 million for Havertz, but that’s become increasingly unrealistic because of the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Leverkusen, however, hold some leverage in the fact that Havertz does not have a release clause in his contract, so they can still charge a premium fee relative to what the market looks like after the COVID-19 pandemic has settled down.
Leverkusen also knows that Havertz is a high priority for Bayern coach Hansi Flick, who has made it clear he wants to try to sign Havertz over other transfer targets. Leverkusen managing director Fernando Carro, though, said the club has no time to think about a potential Havertz transfer this summer:
We’re not thinking about it at all right now. We have other concerns. As clubs, we now have to find a common consensus and see how we’ll get by.
As for Leroy Sané, Flick and Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic have conflicting views. Flick reportedly would rather focus on Havertz and/or RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, but Salihamidzic wants Bayern to sign Sané on a five year contract. Manchester City is still under investigation by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play, but their current finances won’t take as much of a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic as other clubs, so they know they can still ask for a considerable transfer fee for Sane.
It also doesn’t help Bayern’s case that that other top European clubs have now shown interest in the German international, including La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. At this point, in terms of squad planning, if Bayern were to sign Sané, that would likely be the only big signing they’re able to make.
Flick still has not been guaranteed that he will be the Bayern manager next season, but he insists that he wants to have a say on incoming transfers if and when Bayern’s front office decides to extend him. He is particularly fond of both Havertz and Werner and wants to bring both of them to Bayern. Werner’s contract with Die Roten Bullen goes through the summer of 2023, but he has a release clause of approximately €50 million, so it could be possible that Bayern could sign him in addition to Havertz, though they’d face stiff competition from both Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League.
Dr. Gregor Reiter of the legal counsel of the European Football Agents Association said that he feels that the Premier League will be hit harder than the Bundesliga:
With respect to the coronavirus and Brexit, I see the British as threatened in two ways. The question is: what will the owners of the Premier League clubs do now? Will they retreat? In that case, the 50+1 rule of the Bundesliga could prove to be a blessing.
Raiter believes that the ridiculous, mega-money transfer fees will become a thing of the past with how much the market will be effected:
It would be negligent if a club boss negotiated such a deal in these times. In this uncertain situation, you don’t know as a club how your market will develop — you have no planning certainty. The mega-transfers of the past will probably be just that in the future: the past!
Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said he agrees with Raiter’s assessment of how the transfer market will be in the future:
My common sense tells me that this summer will not be a transfer window like in the past.