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Former Bayern Munich keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff doesn’t understand why Alexander Nübel joined the club

It was never going to work for Nübel at Bayern and Pfaff doesn’t understand why he put himself in that position

Sport-Club Freiburg v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Alexander Nübel is currently on loan with AS Monaco from Bayern Munich and it’s now looking increasingly likely that he will have to find a new club after his loan with the Ligue 1 outfit expires. Manuel Neuer is likely to sign a new deal with Bayern that would keep him at the club until 2025, which makes Nübel’s prospect for potential minutes next to impossible, especially with Sven Ulreich back at the club after his stint with Hamburg SV.

In a recent appearance promoting his autobiography titled “My life - from street footballer to world goalkeeper,” former Bayern goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff commented on the goalkeeping situation at Bayern, saying he didn’t think Nübel was making the right move when he joined from Schalke in 2020. At the time, there was a clause in his contract when he signed for Bayern that stipulated he would play at least ten matches for Bayern, which was always going to be relatively unrealistic. Last season, it did not help his case at all that Bayern was knocked out of the DFB-Pokal early on by Holstein Kiel.

Much like Oliver Kahn, Pfaff believes that Neuer can be Bayern’s number one keeper until he’s 40, and even beyond that if he’s still fit and healthy. “If he stays healthy, Manuel Neuer will play for a long time. If he’s still fit at 45, he can sign another three-year contract. He plays in a top team, in which he also experiences quieter phases than other goalkeepers, but in the European Cup, at a World Cup — he’s always there. I hope for him that he stays healthy,” he explained (kicker).

Hindsight is always 20/20, but even when it was announced during the winter transfer window of the 2019/20 season that Nübel would be joining Bayern from Schalke as of July 1st, 2020, Pfaff had his reservations about the move. At the time, he still didn’t feel he was ready for Bayern and was never going to get many looks playing second fiddle to Neuer. After the move was announced, he had even fell into a rough patch of form, forcing David Wagner to bench him for Markus Schubert at the time. “I said back when he came from Schalke that he wasn’t ready for Bayern. Neuer was and is there, at an absolute top level, but he couldn’t replace him in the foreseeable future. Sitting on the bench, not playing, that’s bad — especially for such a young goalkeeper. That was a stupid decision” Pfaff stressed.

Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke 04 - German Bundesliga Photo by Etienne Zegers/Soccrates/Getty Images

When he was asked whether or not Nübel has any future with Bayern, Pfaff said “I watched the games at Schalke back then and thought to myself: Boy, you still have so much to learn. Even now. Talent alone is not enough,” he said.

For Nübel, now that Niko Kovac is no longer Monaco manager, his prospects aren’t as guaranteed to remain the starting goalkeeper, though new manager Philippe Clement has stuck with him. With Neuer’s extension on the horizon, Nübel and his agent, Stefan Becks will be tasked with finding a new club after his two-year loan spell with Monaco is up. Becks was the one who heavily pushed for the loan move to the principality. Tottenham have reportedly shown interest in signing Nübel as early as before the winter transfer window closes, but at the very least, are monitoring his situation. Regardless of where he winds up, Bayern will at least see some sort of financial return since they got him on a free transfer from Schalke back in 2020.