When Bayern Munich hired RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann to take over for Hansi Flick next season, the speculation almost immediately turned to which players the 33-year-old might want to bring over from Die Roten Bullen.
Nagelsmann downplayed any thoughts he might try to raid RB Leipzig’s roster and indicated that speculation would be “normal”, but also that he was not going to spark any type of mass exodus from Die Roten Bullen.
What Nagelsmann did not address, however, was if he might want to look at any players from his old club, Hoffenheim. Tz put out a story speculating that one midfielder in particular could be appealing to Nagelsmann as he prepares for the next step in his career: Florian Grillitsch.
Grillitsch, a 25-year-old defensive midfielder, is said to be one of Nagelsmann’s favorite players from his tenure in Sinsheim.
Tz isolated a few quotes from Nagelsmann on Grillitsch to add some fuel to its fire of speculation:
Statements from last year underpin Nagelsmann’s esteem. He told DAZN at the time, “In my eyes, Flo Grillitsch is one of the best six-men in the Bundesliga, who is already running a bit under the radar. At least you rarely read anything about him.” He was one of the most exceptional players he had coached, he said. “He still has a few things to work on, he knows that, I’ve told him that often enough. But he is an exceptional footballer and has an incredible gift for determining the rhythm of the game,” Nagelsmann said in mid-2020. According to Bild, the Red Bulls then wanted to sign the 1.87-meter man. But a change failed.
So is the new Bayern coach now directing his former favorite pupil from Hoffenheim times to Munich? “Grillo” still has a contract in Kraichgau until June 2022 - so if TSG wants to collect a transfer fee, they would have the best chance this summer, if his employment contract is not extended after all.
Grillitsch, actually a six, has often played as a central defender this season and can also be used in attacking midfield. Thus, he could become a perfect all-rounder if Bayern has a need in a central position.
With Corentin Tolisso’s future uncertain at best and several questions surrounding Marc Roca’s ability to compete for time at a club like Bayern Munich, Grillitsch might offer Nagelsmann some depth behind starters Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, who most assume will form a double-pivot in whatever formation Nagelsmann uses next season.
The question, however, would certainly be around how much Grillitsch would cost. With the Austrian entering the last season of his contract, Hoffenheim might be eager to extend the player this summer, but if Grillitsch wants to leave Achtzehn99, the club might need to sell him this summer to avoid losing him for free in 2022. Per Transfermarkt, Grillitsch is valued at €20 million.
Anyway, a real conspiracy theorist would say that this smells exactly like a free transfer to Bayern Munich that gets announced in January and formally takes place in July of 2022.