With the winter transfer window having just ended, Spox did a roundup of the squad situation at Bayern Munich and the team’s plans for the future. According to them, either Lucas Hernandez or Niklas Sule could leave the club next summer if Jerome Boateng’s contract is extended for another season.
With David Alaba set to leave in the summer, Bayern are looking for cover at the center-back position. Dayot Upamecano is, naturally, the club’s number one target — but the Frenchman is in high demand from clubs across Europe, and his arrival is nowhere near guaranteed. Meanwhile, Tanguy Nianzou, another young Frenchman, is expected to enter the first team rotation after having had a large number of setbacks in his debut season at Bayern. When it comes to the topic of Jerome Boateng, however, things get more complicated.
According to Spox, there’s no reason for Bayern to withhold a contract extension from Boateng on sporting merit. However, both Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule, young central defenders who have been left out of the XI for much of the season, might finally decide to move on from the club if that decision is taken.
According to the report, Lucas had already considered leaving last season, but stayed to fight for his spot, while Sule might fancy a move to the Premier League.
The main problem is that Boateng still enjoys the complete confidence of coach Hansi Flick, and is more or less locked in his starting position at the club. Neither Lucas nor Sule want to spend more of their prime years sitting on the bench behind him, especially if they’re offered starting spots elsewhere.
If this report is true, it means that Bayern are in a very difficult position regarding the future of the defense. While pursuing a replacement for David Alaba is a must, sacrificing one of Lucas Hernandez or Niklas Sule for the 32 (33 by next season) year old Jerome Boateng seems like something the bosses would never agree to.
Hansi Flick, however, might have a different view of things — he prefers to trust the players he knows, and Boateng and Hansi have a long history together since his time as Jogi Low’s assistant in the National Team. Flick reportedly doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the bosses — he pushed strongly for a Alaba extension, and is the primary supporter of Boateng within the club. Losing both of them this summer might make him feel that his input is not being valued, possibly catalyzing a departure from the Bayern Munich.
Of course, it could all just be sensationalism, which is always a possibility with the football media. However, for my part, I wish Flick would start phasing out Alaba and Boateng for a younger and more athletic pairing. Bayern’s defense has been nothing short of atrocious this season, so a personnel change at the back is more than justified. Maybe, if they got half the faith and backing Alaba and Boateng get, they’d come into their own and Flick could find a new preferred pairing. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt to try.