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BFW Commentary: Bayern Munich fighting a losing battle against rising salaries

A new financial world is on the horizon and Bayern Munich might need to evolve to stay competitive in Europe.

Germany v Hungary - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F Photo by Markus Gilliar/Getty Images

For Bayern Munich, making fiscally intelligent decisions has been a hallmark of the club’s success. The world, however, is changing and the Bavarians might need a philosophical detour to maintain their position as one of the world’s power clubs.

The current contract negotiations between Bayern Munich and stars like Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, and Kingsley Coman has brought the subject to the forefront of the summer chatter.

With established “wage tiers” for the roster, Bayern Munich has successfully navigated world football by keeping everything under control and salary expenses at contained level. While the Bavarians have been extremely good working this way, the rest of the major clubs in the world, has gone full “free spender after 12 beers mode.”

The problem is that the Bayern Munich players have noticed — and they want in on the action.

According to reports, the matter became more of an issue in Bavaria after the club engaged in a long-term and expensive pursuit of Leroy Sane. The former Manchester City man was paid as if he was the elite player on the team and not a supporting player — which is exactly what he proved to be last season.

Without being a dominant — or even consistent — performer, Sane’s salary — and likely all the media attention he dominated for about 18 months — rubbed some players the wrong way.

With that, every player who thinks he is either better than Sane or at least at Sane’s level wants Sane money. Ultimately, the Sane signing has — allegedly — played a role in losing sextuple-winner Hansi Flick and potentially created a major elephant in the room for Bayern Munich’s ongoing contract negotiations.

Sane, however, is not to blame for this. He did what any player should do — get the best deal possible at the place he wants to play.

That is all water under the bridge at this stage, though. The new world is here and Bayern Munich must now deal with it.

So…what could Bayern Munich do to continue to operate in this manner with a conservative wage budget? There are some options — albeit not alternatives that will appeal to most fans:

Pick the right players to invest in: With tiered wage budget, Bayern Munich must invest the highest financial commitment only in the players they believe are worth it — and who will maintain their high level of play for the long-term.

Sell at the right time: Commitment to financial sanity unfortunately comes at the expense of loyalty. Once a player reaches a status where he feels his salary is more than the club is willing to pay, Bayern Munich must sell…immediately. To continue on this path of fiscal conservatism, the club cannot afford to let players like David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, or even Angelo Stiller walk away for free. This will be extremely painful and frustrating for many fans.

Invest more in the campus: To offset the shorter-term relationships with top talents, the club will still have to spend a lot of money — but now on scouting, technology, facilities, and alloting more front-end cash to secure the commitments of prospects to develop on campus.

These plans are not immune to potential issues, though. Foreign players will start to weigh the commitment they must make to learning the language and assimilating to the German culture if they know they will only be there a few years. Is it worth it to go through all of that, when you can still probably get paid more elsewhere?

For example, what happens if Real Madrid or FC Barcelona come in with salary offers to Kimmich or Goretzka that are €25 to €30 million per year? More, Alphonso Davies and Jamal Musiala will assuredly be prime targets for big spenders in just a few years…will Bayern Munich be able to retain them at their top tier when Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Chelsea, or Paris Saint-Germain are willing to exceed that?

The days of club loyalty (both ways) and relationships are fading. In America, we are already well-versed in this relatively new world. For some Bayern Munich fans, however, this will be a hard world to live in.

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