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Oliver Kahn explains his approach to contracts for key Bayern Munich players

It’s difficult to navigate through contract talks in the wake of a crippling pandemic, but Kahn is doing his best to strike good balances.

FC Bayern Muenchen Annual Meeting Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

It was known that this was going to be a pivotal period for Bayern Munich in terms of squad planning, as there were a plethora of key players with upcoming expiring contracts going into the season. At this juncture, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and Kingsley Coman have all signed new deals with the club, but Niklas Süle has officially confirmed that he will be leaving Bayern this summer. Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Müller are still pending new deals, but the club is confident they’ll be able to get that accomplished for the trio of stars.

Oliver Kahn stepped into the CEO role at a difficult time with the coronavirus pandemic taking its financial toll on the club. It was always going to be a difficult task for him to navigate through a difficult financial and economical period, but he’s been able to find a balance that’s best for the club. Thus far, comparative to his predecessor Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and likewise former president Uli Hoeneß, Kahn has taken a less active approach in terms of his engagement with the press and media. For some, this has come of a bit of a shock who’s on-pitch attitude helped him earn the nickname “Der Titan.”

Kahn said it’s all about being able to strike the right balance as far as his presence in front of the cameras in a recent interview. “It’s an interpretation of your own role. I can’t stand in front of a camera every day. I have to find the right rhythm. It’s about finding a reasonable middle ground,” he explained.

Kahn has recently made it clear that he will be giving sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic more flexibility and responsibility when it comes to squad planning and transfers, but they still have to figure out the contract situations for Neuer, Lewandowski, and Müller, especially after failing to tie down Süle beyond this summer. “These are all greats of this club, all players who can also be credited with the successes of the last decade and current successes. It goes without saying that we talk to all these players to understand what they are thinking and what they want. Of course that’s at the top of our agenda for the foreseeable future,” he said of Bayern’s trio of veterans.

For Lewandowski, the door is open to try something else before he can no longer play at the highest level, but Bayern is going to do everything they can to extend him beyond the summer of 2023. Kahn referred to the Polish international as “an absolute phenomenon” and “insurance” for Bayern. “Of course we will do everything we can to keep Robert with us for as long as possible,” he continued in his admiration of Bayern’s number 9.

Kahn had equal admiration for Neuer, who is a player he feels could still be in goal for Bayern at age 40. He said that he was “absolutely convinced” Neuer could be Bayern’s number one keeper for that long. “Manuel breaks all records and leaves nothing for me. He’s very, very gluttonous. He shows no signs of fatigue when it comes to titles, awards and records. He has to end his career here,” he said.

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