Pep Guardiola came to Bayern and with him he brought many things. The 4-1-4-1, averaging 99.5% possession, and of course, a differing transfer policy.
Let’s dive into the very first summer of Pep’s shopping.
- Mario Götze from Borussia Dortmund for €37m
- Thiago Álcantara from FC Barcelona for €25m
- Jan Kirchhoff from FSV Mainz for free
- Luiz Gustavo to VfL Wolfsburg for €16m
- Mario Gómez to Fiorentina for €15.5m
- Emre Can to Bayer Leverkusen for €5m
- Nils Petersen to Werder Bremen for €3m
- Jan Kirchhoff on a six month loan to FC Schalke (winter transfer)
- Maximilan Riedmüller to Holstein Kiel for free
- Anatoliy Tymoshchuk to Zenit St. Petersburg for free
- Julian Green and Alessandro Schöpf given professional contracts.
- Julian Green makes his first team debut.
Leiterkletterer: Julian Green
The batches of youth from 2013 to 2016 failed to produce any good talents, with Julian Green being the only somewhat impressive player. Green was given a handful of chances by Pep in the 2013/14 season before being loaned out to Hamburger SV, failing to break into the first team even there, eventually being demoted to Bayern II and being sold to VfB Stuttgart who were in the second division at the time. Green would play a part in Stuttgart’s bid to promotion but would stay in the second division with a loan move to Greuther Fürth that later became permanent, where he still is today.
Überschuss: Mario Gómez
As Mario Mandžukić took over the starting striker spot, Claudio Pizarro and Mario Gómez were left to the bench, fighting for essentially a bench position. Gómez decided to cut his losses and expressed his desire to leave, and Bayern obliged when Fiorentina came knocking. It was a win-win for both sides, with Gómez painting the streets of Europe for Fiorentina, Beşiktaş JK, VfL Wolfsburg and Stuttgart in a career that spanned seven more years.
Sehr Vermisst: Emre Can
Emre Can could have made it at Bayern Munich.
Maybe not then. Maybe not in two years from then. Maybe not even four years from then. But post-2017 after the retirement of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso? Come on. Even now, we see the effects of the lack of a true defensive midfielder presence, somebody who can deputise as a centre back too. I know we had Javi Martínez, but we got lucky with his fitness not being spotty for a couple years, and then he faded into the background. Can could have been the solution to our enforcer DM problem.
Reue des Käufers: Mario Götze
After a set of seasons where he was — and I say this not-lightly — one of the best players in the world and about to embark on a journey with Germany that culminated with him scoring the winning goal of the 2014 World Cup, Mario Götze joined Bayern Munich for a mammoth sum. It is important to remember that Götze joined Bayern aged 21, because the kind of maturity and talent he showed was much beyond his years. He was essentially a completed player and one of the best in the world before he even turned 23. He was destined to be among the Neymars of the generation. However, after joining Bayern his form dipped. He struggled to get consistent minutes in his debut season, often falling in the pecking order behind Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. He made those minutes back in the 2014/15 season after the World Cup, but was not even close to as impressive as he was prior, with Pep often sticking him on the left wing in Franck Ribéry’s absence to no real effect all the way until 2016 when Götze decided enough was enough, cut his losses and left to return to Borussia Dortmund for a lowered transfer fee.
Götze’s struggles with health — both mental and physical — have been well-documented and it is what scares me more than anything else. To see Pedri, Jamal Musiala, Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland all accelerating to world class status at such young ages gives me flashes to when Götze, André Schürrle and Neymar Jr. were just getting their starts. How many of them will fall below expectations?
Neue Legende: Thiago Álcantara
I think Thiago Álcantara is one of the most underrated players of this decade.
Sure, he missed a large part of the years through injury and fitness, but when he was on, he was ON. I think on a per 90 basis he was the best player Bayern had through 2016 to 2019. Whether it was playing in the central attacking role of Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-1-4-1, the primary creative presence in Niko Kovač’s 4-3-3 or as the base of all of Bayern’s play as a hybrid DM/centre back in Hansi Flick’s 4-2-3-1, the one constant was Thiago playing brilliantly. The fact that we let him go for anything less than €40m haunts me to this day, and that’s after factoring in the fact that he was nearing thirty and had just the one year on his contract. €22m was a bargain for Liverpool.
Thiago arrived in Munich as Pep’s golden child, a player touted as another La Masia product with potential who would fail due to his inability to keep fit. Seven Bundesligas, four DfB Pokals a Champions League and seven thousand silky smooth touches later, Thiago left Munich as a legend.
What do you think of our picks? Do you disagree with any of them? Let us know in the forum below.