While the alleged heat between the two men has been in the spotlight of late, it stems all the way back to when Flick was hired. Below are reportedly some of the key areas that have caused friction between the duo.
A cry for help
When Flick called for new signings in January of 2020, Salihamidzic was put off by the manager’s public cry for help.
- BFW Analysis: Flick using the media to say that the roster needed help is an old trick that many managers and coaches use in many sports across the globe. While it is not the most politically correct method (internal discussions are almost universally favored), it does put some pressure on others to address roster needs.
- Verdict: Flick probably could have been a little more tactful with his move here, but Salihamidzic probably should not harbor a grudge over this either.
Ulreich over Nübel
Flick did not want Bayern Munich to sign Alexander Nübel and preferred to keep Sven Ulreich.
- BFW Analysis: Nübel was a free transfer, but Flick undoubtedly knew he could not offer the type of playing time needed to keep the youngster happy. Manuel Neuer has proven to be excellent once again and Nübel is already looking at loan destinations.
- Verdict: Flick was correct in his assessment. That said, it was tough to pass up Nübel on a free transfer. Perhaps the two sides could have met in the middle and worked out a loan for one or two years to a good destination (which appears likely anyway now). Meanwhile Ulreich could have held down the fort in backing up Neuer, which only requires a handful of appearances per season.
I know what you did at the transfer deadline last summer
Flick wanted Sergino Dest and Callum Hudson-Odoi over Bouna Sarr and Douglas Costa.
- BFW Analysis: Okay, so Flick was correct in figuring Hudson-Odoi and Dest would have been more impactful than Sarr and Costa. Realistically, however, Hudson-Odoi was not going to be sold by Chelsea and Dest always wanted to go to FC Barcelona. It is extremely unclear if Bayern Munich had realistic chances on either Hudson-Odoi or Dest.
- Verdict: The Sarr and Costa deals were panic moves. Everyone knows that and made the same assessment. I don’t think Flick was ever going to get what he wanted in Hudson-Odoi or Dest, but assuredly he would have preferred just about anyone over Sarr and Costa. Perhaps, though, because Flick had already lost out on two of the central figures in the next point below, he was more sensitive to the quality of player he wants. Which brings us to...
A battle Flick was never going to win
Leroy Sane wasn’t Flick’s first choice as the manager wanted to work with Timo Werner or Kai Havertz.
- BFW Analysis: Sane was Salihamidzic’s “white whale” that he had been hunting for more than a year before the Germany international officially signed with the Bavarians from Manchester City. Whether Flick wanted Sane initially does not matter at this point. The manager seems to have helped Sane make the transition from talented winger to Bayern Munich winger. The mentality, creativity, and willingness to both press and drop deep to defend has been present in Sane for more than a month now. The soft landing might be over and Sane could be on his way to being as consistently impactful as most hoped he would be this season.
- Verdict: This was a win for Salihamidzic and Flick was NEVER going to win any battle in convincing Bayern Munich to walk away from the bargaining table with Sane. Flick, however, is helping turn Sane into his best possible version, which really makes this a win-win. All that said, Bayern Munich should give Flick a little more say in acquisitions. Flick clearly had a plan for either Werner or Havertz as well — and every player that Flick has invested himself into has shown star caliber performances or immensely improved play at a minimum (Sane, Thomas Muller, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman, Alphonso Davies, Jerome Boateng, etc.). Flick most likely could have impacted talents like Werner and/or Havertz the same way.
Flick wanted veto power over personnel moves, which Bayern Munich did not find acceptable.
- BFW Analysis: This is easy — the manager deserves more say in transfers or signings of players he will have to directly interact with, coach, plan with, and strategize for. Does he deserve full autonomy? No. But a bit more say could have prevented wasteful moves for players like Sarr and Costa.
- Verdict: Bayern Munich might have to cede its position on this a little bit — if the Bavarians really want to retain Flick and prevent him from jumping to the DFB.
Flick is a sextuple-winning coach, who has proven to be able to get the most of out his players and work with the roster he has been given. The potential for his reign with Bayern Munich could be even better than he has already shown, if gets an opportunity to have just a bit more say on the players he wants to work with. The manager somehow has the capability to unlock potential and talent from players who many have written off or doubted.
Here is to hoping that Flick and the Bavarians can come to an accord on how to stick together and win more champions in the years to come.