Can Thiago and Bayern Munich work it out?
ESPN reported yesterday that Liverpool FC will not pursue Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Presuming the report is accurate (for now), that is very good news for Bayern and its fans. Thiago, simply put, is an incredible player and, really, irreplaceable.
But if a major club like Liverpool or Barca (whose financial woes are well-known) cannot afford Thiago, could he potentially run out his contract at Bayern and leave on a free transfer? I think that is highly unlikely for two reasons.
The first is that Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said that Bayern will not let Thiago leave on a free transfer. “We do not want to lose any player for free next year. I will say that very clearly,” he said recently, while acknowledging Thiago’s desire to try something new.
The other reason is that an extension does not really mean Thiago will be forced to stay in Munich against his will beyond 2021, if he really cannot find a buyer this season. A buyer could well emerge in several months’ time. FIFA wants the transfer window to remain open all the way until October 5.
But if Thiago finds no one willing to pay Bayern’s asking price, in that contingency, Rummenigge, Oliver Kahn, and Hasan Salihamidzic could presumably negotiate a deal that would extend Thiago’s contract by a year so that he could test the waters again in 2021.
We saw something relatively similar recently with Timo Werner: he seemed certain to transfer to Bavaria in 2019 before entering his final year of contract with RB Leipzig. But Bayern backed out, and in August Werner signed an extension until 2023. And now Werner has his big transfer anyway, to Chelsea FC, and Leipzig has its reward, a transfer fee of €50m. That is a win-win.
Thiago will be 30 years old by the end of the 2020/21 season. Historically, that is the age when Bayern offers shorter contracts to veterans or allows them to leave, such as Arturo Vidal, who transferred to Barcelona in 2018 a few months after turning 31. Although the club probably hoped to sign Thiago until 2023, like Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski, a shorter deal could be a workable compromise.
I think it’s one that Thiago would take.
Five reasons Bayern will beat Chelsea (Bundesliga.com)
The Bundesliga is confident that Bayern Munich will dispatch Chelsea when they visit the Allianz Arena in August. We’ll give you the quick and dirty version of the five reasons why:
1) Robert LewanGOALski. CHECK: Chelsea definitely does not have the world’s best striker in the form of his life.
2) The better supporting cast. CHECK: Serge Gnabry, Bayern’s second-leading scorer, still has more goals than Chelsea’s leader, Tammy Abraham. And Thomas Müller’s 21 assists is more than double any Chelsea player’s.
3) Neuer sweeping up. CHECK: Bayern has an in-form Manuel Neuer, and Chelsea has Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was so bad Frank Lampard briefly benched him for 38-year-old Willy Caballero.
4) Record-breaking form. Under Hansi Flick, Bayern has been virtually unbeatable, and they came back from the coronavirus suspension looking like they never stopped playing. Flick can do it again during this much shorter break in play.
5) European and knockout pedigree. Yes, Chelsea has that one time over Bayern, but Bayern’s overall record at this stage of the Champions League is far superior, and they have lost only one out of 25 UEFA ties in which they won the first leg away.
No rest for the weary: a brutal schedule awaits Bayern’s players (Bild)
Bayern Munich’s players, and especially those who play for their countries, are in for a hellish 2020/21 season, playing almost with a break for the year.
Little more than a week after the Champions League final on August 23, national duty commences: German is playing games on September 3 and 6. Then comes the first round of the DFB-Pokal, and the Bundesliga season officially kicks off on Sept. 18.
All six rounds of the Champions League will be played before Christmas, on top of 13 Bundesliga matchdays, with the second round of the DFB-Pokal occurring just before Christmas.
The Hinrunde will be interrupted by two more international breaks in October and November with three games apiece.
“But surely,” you think, “Bayern can regenerate during the winter break?” What winter break? The season resumes on January 2! And at the end of the Rückrunde... EURO 2020!
DFL working on concept to bring fans back (SPORT1)
The DFL is working with the German Ministry for Health on a plan to bring soccer fans back into the stadiums. They are currently in discussions on what conditions would need to be met so that the “highest standards against infections diseases” can be maintained while allowing fans in the stadiums.
Apparently, the local concepts of the clubs for full or partial admission of fans will be “decisive.” They will have to “be approved by the competent local health officials.”
Here is one plan that involves having supporters obtain a negative coronavirus test:
Union Berlin’s plan to bring all fans back for 2020/21
Union Berlin are hoping for a packed stadium for the first Bundesliga matchday.— DW Sports (@dw_sports) July 10, 2020
Stadium entry would be granted to ticket holders with a negative test result no older than 24 hours.
The club's plan will be presented to state authorities for approval. pic.twitter.com/MCX75Y6vxm
Barcelona agree on personal terms with Inter’s Lautaro Martinez — pending the sale of Philippe Coutinho (ESPN)
ESPN has reported that Barcelona has agreed personal terms with 22-year-old Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez. Like most transfer sagas, there are still many “ifs and buts” included. Inter will first have to accept an offer and, if the reports are true, they are not willing to accept a sale that sees a Barcelona player go the opposite way.
The coronavirus pandemic has economically damaged the Catalonian giants. Hence the potential transfer of Martinez depends heavily on revenue made from sales. Club-record signing Philippe Coutinho is labelled the player which could bring in the most money for Barcelona. It remains to be seen how much they will get for the Brazilian.
Hertha Berlin striker Solomon Kalou joins Brazilian powerhouse Botafogo
“Cup of Losers” — Thomas Helmer (quoting Franz Beckenbauer)
Oh yeah, this was LIVE on the broadcast. UEFA: “Haha, ha... ha.”