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Hoffenheim unhappy that Bayern signed two of their most promising starlets

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It’s good business for Bayern, but Hoffenheim argues that Bayern’s methods are hurting the league.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Bayern Munich recently acquired TSG Hoffenheim starlets Armindo Sieb and Mamin Sanyang on free transfers for Bayern’s youth teams. Both players are 17 years old and have been promising talents for Hoffenheim’s U-17s. From Bayern’s perspective, it’s excellent business to sign two players who can develop on Bayern’s youth teams, potentially reach the first team, or transfer out for profit. Hoffenheim, however, has not taken kindly to Bayern’s poaching of Sieb and Sanyang.

Per the Associated Press, Hoffenheim is irritated that Bayern scrounged up their starlets. Their frustration isn’t helped by the fact that their U-19 captain Amadou Onana recently joined Hamburger SV. Hoffenheim’s managing director, Frank Briel, said that Bayern’s methods may be a productive business model, but they hurt other clubs in the Bundesliga, who invest time and resources developing players in the youth academies.

Briel said, “It’s worth discussing at least in terms of solidarity that Bayern — which has turnover of three quarters of a billion euros — is now actively pursuing the talent recruitment business. It’s perhaps clever from their corporate strategy perspective, but it hurts us because that’s why we do the work at the academy.”

Germany U17 v Portugal U17 - Algarve U17 International Tournament

Sanyang’s arrival at Bayern was officially announced by the club at the end of June, while Sieb was announced back in May. Hoffenheim was also irked when Sieb had taken a trip to Munich for his medical during the coronavirus lockdown without permission from the club. Fast-forward to this week, though, and both players completed their first training session as Bayern players on Monday.

Jochen Sauer, the head of Bayern’s youth academies was excited by the arrival of both Sieb and Sanyang. Sauer said, “In Armindo [Sieb] we have been able to score a big German talent for ourselves.” He further considers Sanyang “an ideal reinforcement for our under-19s and are delighted that he will wear the Bayern jersey in future.”


A glimpse into the future of transfer business?

Does Briel have a valid argument? Is it unfair to smaller clubs that develop youth prospects if wealthier clubs like Bayern acquire their best players for cheap and turn a profit as they complete their development?

As Briel has said, it’s a productive business model. From Bayern’s perspective, these situations are almost always a win-win. They get young players for cheap, or even free, develop them on their youth teams, and then either push them through to the first team or sell them to a different club at a profit.

With what the new landscape of the transfer market may look like, their will likely be more of an emphasis placed on loan deals and youth development, but a lot of larger clubs still have the financial flexibility to spend decent money on lucrative transfers. A club like Bayern can navigate both avenues to great effect: bigger money transfers and also a focus on youth players and loan deals.