Throughout his tenure thus far as sporting director of Bayern Munich, Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic has been subject to at times intense criticism.
Over the course of two summers, Bayern lost the likes of Niklas Sule, David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez, all mainstays on the team for years, and all on free transfers.
This summer, though, Brazzo struck back. In the wake of Robert Lewandowski’s departure to FC Barcelona, he helped architect a massive transfer window that brought reinforcements to every position: Noussair Mazraoui (Ajax) and Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) in defense, Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax) in midfield, and Sadio Mane (Liverpool) and Mathys Tel (Rennes) in attack.
For Brazzo, there’s an art to convincing players to come to Bayern. His approach is to sell them the full-on package of what it means to be a Bayern player, both on and off the pitch. He explained this process — and how Bayern’s squad strength actually helps him make his case — in a recent interview with Bayern club magazine “51.”
“Perspective is a key word. Every professional wants to be at a club where he can play at a high level for many years and win titles,” he explained. “Nowadays, a top player analyzes in advance exactly what conditions are available to him. Our advantage is that our team is very well structured in terms of age. On the other hand, we specifically focus on players who can play several positions. That way we can broaden the quality of our squad.
“We have 19-20 outfield players plus three goalkeepers - so every newcomer knows that there will be a lot of competition, but in the end everyone will get enough playing time. At FC Bayern, all the conditions are in place for a player to have a successful career. We offer what’s most important to top players: a perspective of success.”
In terms of the negotiating table for prospective signees, Brazzo said he likes to convey what it means to be a part of the Bayern family.
“FC Bayern stands for history, continuity in leadership, social responsibility, success and cohesion. Top players appreciate that,” said Brazzo. “It’s well known that FC Bayern not only works professionally, but also does everything to make the players and their families feel at home in Munich.”
These are things Brazzo knows well from his own time as a player in Bavaria.
“I remember well from my own playing days that this family atmosphere at FC Bayern is anything but a matter of course,” he said. “We don’t just talk about a special cohesion here, but we also live it. I think we always manage very well here to give every player a good feeling about being in Munich and playing for this club.”