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BFW Roundtable: How long should Bayern Munich extend Manuel Neuer?

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With all the uncertainty surrounding Manuel Neuer’s future in Bavaria, should the club offer him a final long-term contract?

FC Bayern Muenchen v FC Augsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images

In recent days, there have been a number of rumors regarding the future of Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich. The Bayern captain’s contract runs out in 2021, and the club has now started negotiations for a new contract. Both the club and the player want him to stay, but they differ significantly regarding the duration: Bayern are offering Neuer a two-year deal, whereas Neuer wants a five-year deal through 2025.

It is clear that a compromise must be made from both sides in order for Neuer to continue his career in Munich. But how long should Neuer’s new contract be? Our BFW writers came together to discuss this.


John Dillon

A two-year deal is the obvious preference for the club. Neuer has been outstanding since he recovered from the two metatarsal fractures that sidelined him for virtually the entire 2017/18 season. A five-year deal, as he reportedly is demanding, would keep him at Bayern theoretically until at least 2025 (starting in 2020), when he will be 39 years old.

That seems preposterous to me. There is little chance that Neuer will be worth his presumably very high wages as such a contract nears the end, and his nearly career-ending injury history makes such a long-term commitment even less palatable for Bayern. It is the perennial dilemma for franchises: how much will the club sacrifice to keep an icon through the end of his prime?

If Neuer’s camp insists on four or five years, I would let him leave in 2021. While two years is ideal, three in which Neuer may or may not still be starting keeper by the end seems like a reasonable, Bayern-like risk. If Neuer is still playing at a level close to his own standard, Bayern can offer him another, shorter extension or he can go off on an adventure like Gianluigi Buffon. If he isn’t, though, Bayern would only hamstring itself by retaining an unsalable, lavishly-paid backup keeper for two or more years.

The transfer market moreover is working against Neuer and in Bayern’s favor at the moment: none of the big clubs need a starting keeper, let alone one already 34 years old, and the current crisis makes it even less likely that someone would pay a premium for Neuer. The only exception is FC Chelsea, but they are not even guaranteed to qualify for the Champions League. More than money or years of security, Neuer wants titles, and Bayern is still his best bet for that.

Fergus Tong

In my opinion, Neuer’s new contract should be a two-year extension, which will expire in 2023. By the time of this, Neuer will be 37 years old and could feasibly retire due to a significant decline. Yet, if he is able to continue, one-year extensions can be awarded until he hangs up his boots. We just don’t know what state he will be in, which is why he shouldn’t receive the 4-5 year (!) extension he craves. A long extension like this could go the way of Robben and Ribery — some of Bayern’s highest paid stars (Neuer should be in the €15-20 M range with this new contract), but just not at the needed level anymore — and potentially severely damaging Bayern’s wage structure.

There’s no denying that Neuer has been superb this season, but his recurring injuries and the signing of Alexander Nübel must be taken into account. There’s no small chance that Neuer will be injured for a significant period of time in the next seasons due to his history and age. Simply put, he really shouldn’t be offered an extension of more than two-three years.

Joshua Tobolt

Manuel Neuer should absolutely be extended. Yes, he had a horrendous 1-1.5 years as he dealt with the ramifications of his repeated foot breaks. That being said, Neuer has been back to his elite, top-5-goalkeeper-in-the-world self as of the past season. The flipside of not extending him is this question: do you start Nübel in 2021/22? He does not look remotely ready to start for Bayern Munich if his current form at Schalke is any indication.

Furthermore, does Nübel play next year? Reports indicate yes, but at the same time that is sure to irritate Neuer. Yes, Neuer is 34. He has maybe 2-3 top-level years left. One can even argue that the foot break extended him because he has 1-1.5 years less of play than his body age. I am squarely in that camp.

Bottom line, as I said earlier Bayern Munich MUST extend Neuer. Four years until 2025? I am fine with that. That squarely puts him in the territory of a Gigi Buffon where he either retires or can go somewhere else and Nübel is ready to play. Signing Neuer to that 4 years is by no means a guarantee he starts all 5 years. It ensures Bayern has elite Neuer for the next 3 years. And frankly, Nübel gets to learn under Neuer which could be invaluable. The biggest question is will Bayern eat their own words, loan Nübel out like they did Gnabry? That, I think, is the bigger question and not whether Neuer should be renewed (which he absolutely should).

Schnitzel01

Manuel Neuer has arguably been the world’s best keeper of the entire past decade, and barring a half-season slump due to injury, he has always been solid at the very least and world-beater at best. Moreover, Neuer is one of Bayern’s longest serving players and has been a great captain to the team, allowing the defenders to venture forward with the security of knowing that the world’s best keeper is behind them.

Neuer’s contract situation, especially after the signing of Nübel (confirmed in the winter window), may seem tricky for some, but is a no-brainer for me. At the form he is in right now, he can continue being the world’s best goalkeeper for another 3 years at the very least. His experience, “sweeper-keeper” play, and calm nerves could be the difference when we face top clubs in the upcoming season. Therefore, keeping in mind that he still has quite a few years at the top level still ahead, I would say a contract extension of 4 years is in the cards.

Of course, this makes things sticky for Nübel, but his performances of late haven’t even warranted a start in Schalke’s lineup, let alone Bayern’s. Yes, he definitely has the quality and potential to succeed Neuer, but replacing a peak-form Neuer is beyond his horizon, so maybe a loan is a good option in case he is unwilling to ride the bench.

Teddy Son

It is indubitable that Manuel Neuer’s presence has been a gift to Bayern for the past decade. That said, to quote a very popular superhero, “part of the journey is the end,” and as Neuer approaches the twilight years of his career, it is completely natural that the club is preparing to move on.

If the reports are true and Neuer really wants a 4-5 year deal, then this is out of the question. Neuer just turned 34, which is not young at all for a footballer, even for a goalkeeper. There is no guarantee that Neuer will be playing at his best when he is 38 or 39. What’s more, Bayern have got themselves a decent replacement in Alexander Nübel, and leaving him on the bench for five years will not do him any good. Bayern made the same mistake with Oliver Kahn, letting him play until he was almost 39 and then expecting an inexperienced Michael Rensing to fill his shoes (spoiler alert: he didn’t).

However, two years is also a bit short. It would be reasonable to keep him for three years: two to start in goal and one as a transitional phase, rotating with Nübel. When he hits his final year, Neuer will be 38, and it will be high time that he starts relinquishing his starting spot to his successor. Of course, judging from Neuer’s attitude, it is highly unlikely that he will be benched without a fight, but a lot can happen in three years. Perhaps another year could be added if Nübel does not live up to the club’s standards, which hopefully is not the case.