Niklas Süle is leaving Bayern Munich this summer. That’s now a known fact, and in retrospect, the more time that passed without the club reaching an agreement for a contract extension, the more it looked like this would eventually happen.
Süle was one of a handful of players in Bayern’s squad that had upcoming expiring contracts, but Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Coman have all signed lucrative new deals. Süle’s contract expires this summer and the question was always looming large; when will Bayern extend him? For his case, with his worth and value to the squad, it was always more of a presumed when more than an if as to a new deal being agreed upon, but now we know that just wasn’t the case.
Per a new report from Sport1, there were a number of different reasons why Süle ultimately decided it was time to leave Bayern. With Julian Nagelsmann coming to Bayern from RB Leipzig, it seemed like that would be the perfect equation for Süle, given their time working together at TSG Hoffenheim, but he was slightly put off by the fact that Nagelsmann was really the only one who vociferously campaigned for a contract extension. He felt like the rest of Bayern’s front office didn’t come anywhere close to reciprocating that standpoint from Nagelsmann.
Earlier in the season, Süle had taken some heat in Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s assessment of his performance in Bayern’s 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt back in February. On that occasion, Süle started at right-back, tasked with trying to keep Filip Kostic at bay, who wound up finishing the match with a goal and assist to his name. He also struggled against Amine Younes in the buildup to one of Frankfurt’s goals, but didn’t feel that Rummenigge’s criticism was completely justified. “If I make a (bad play), I’m the first to say: rightly so. But I don’t have to have everything chalked up to me — and left uncommented on,” he had told Suddeutsche Zeitung at the time.
To partially quote BFW’s own Chuck Smith, it feels that the Rummenigge criticism was just one of several occasions where Süle felt his name was sort of being “dragged through the mud.” That particular incident also just happened to come several months after Hansi Flick was displeased with the defenders weight and fitness level after returning from an international break. This was just less than a full season after suffering his cruciate ligament tear, that saw him miss the majority of the 2019/20 campaign for Bayern.
In retrospect, it’s easier to see the little things that started to pick and prod Süle to a point where he eventually felt unwelcome, or at least less welcome than some of the other stars on the squad. This came full circle with the lucrative contract extensions for Kimmich, Goretzka, and Coman. Granted, defender’s contracts are rarely in the higher ends on any given squad, but that didn’t Bayern’s case in convincing him to stay with the offer of 10 million euros per year.
Poking a ticking time bomb
Prior to Bayern’s win over Hertha Berlin last weekend, Herbert Hainer had gone on Sky and called for a decision from Süle’s camp to be made since Bayern’s front office had given them an offer. This added a significant amount of pressure on Süle in a situation where there was already a great deal of pressure. He wasn’t sure he definitely wanted to stay at Bayern, as he clearly felt he didn’t feel like he was wanted enough. For a player already on the fence, this was not the right tactic to use, at least if Bayern actually wanted him to stay.
Negotiations had progressed earlier in the year as all parties had agreed to advance discussions regarding a new deal, but putting the pressure on recently has not helped Süle sway his mind into staying. Much like the David Alaba situation before he left for Real Madrid, the public pressure didn’t really help anyone and just created unnecessary friction.
Ultimately, Süle probably felt that Bayern’s approach and desire to get him to sign a new deal didn't exactly match the exterior pressure they were inadvertently putting on the situation. He feels like he would’ve known, without a trace of a doubt, the club 100% wanted him to stay if their offensive to get that deal over the line was more progressive and less sporadic, especially for a player who’s contract expires in just a few month’s time.
At this point, Sport1 is already reporting that Süle is already far along in negotiations with a unnamed club to join in the summer window. The destination is not yet known, but on the flip side, it’s reported that Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen could be his replacement at Bayern in what would be some sort of a swap deal. Antonio Rudiger’s name has also been mentioned as well as Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria. Chelsea, however, is reportedly going to try everything they can to get Rudiger to stay and both Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool are in the race to sign Zakaria, and would both potentially be willing to do so as early as this winter.