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Mannschaft Planen: Leading center-backs Bayern Munich could sign this summer

Bayern need a leader at the back, but options are slim.

FC Salzburg v FC Bayern München: Round Of Sixteen Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Bayern Munich have a massive summer window ahead of them. Since Niklas Süle and Corentin Tolisso will be departing this summer and there have generally been issues with the depth of the squad the last two seasons, we can be assured that the next six months will be full of rumours as to who will join the Rekordmeister. But who could those men be?

To be clear, this article and series will not follow rumours. It will not look at who is likely to be signed, but rather who could be signed. We will try to be crafty with the options given and avoid the “obvious” options but sometimes the obvious options are obvious because they are also the best options.

Today, we look at a position that is not yet short-staffed, but will be after the departure of Süle in the summer: center-back. In my opinion, Lucas Hernández is the ideal man to lead this backline, and Benjamin Pavard should join the center-back unit while Bayern look to splurge on a right-back, but the Bayern board and management look keen to sign a center-back either way, so we will look at their potential options.

Stefan de Vrij

Stefan de Vrij of FC Internazionale gestures during the UEFA... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

Stefan de Vrij is a quality defender. There is no two ways about it. He proved his worth as an elite defender for Lazio and stepped it up with a move to Inter Milan. However, now 30 years of age and in his prime, Inter are ready to listen to offers for him, and de Vrij himself looks ready to leave. He is in poor form this season, but a change of scenery could do him good. His contract expires in 2023 but Inter do not want him to enter the final year of his contract without his situation resolved as per CalcioMercato.

The Dutch defender has been uncharacteristically mistake-prone this season — a quality in defense that seems all too familiar — but I firmly believe that with a change in scenery he can return to his earlier form. As both Inter and the player are leaning towards a departure this summer, he may also be available on the cheap. However, being a Mino Raiola client may leave a bad taste in the mouth during contract negotiations.

Likelihood: 4/10
Player Quality: 7/10
Potential Price: 5/10
TOTAL: 16/30 (53.33%)

Matthias Ginter

Borussia Mönchengladbach v FC Augsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Getty Images

Now, onto who is my personal pick of the bunch. Matthias Ginter has been one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga for the better part of a decade now. Since 2014 when he deputised at right back for Borussia Dortmund, to becoming the heart and soul of the Borussia Mönchengladbach defense, he has had a very successful career, but there is one key trophy missing from his cabinet: the Bundesliga.

At the age of 28, Ginter announced earlier this season that he will not be renewing his contract at Mönchengladbach — one that runs out this summer — meaning he will be available on a free. He is in the prime of his career, German, and available for a bargain bin price. If that’s not enough, how about somebody who can also fill in at right-back after Bouna Sarr leaves the club? He may not be extremely offensively minded but he can certainly do a great job as shown by the earlier seasons of his career.

Likelihood: 7/10
Player Quality: 8/10
Potential Price: 10/10
TOTAL: 25/30 (83.33%)

Nico Schlotterbeck

Sport-Club Freiburg v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Bundesliga Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Moving on to a more future-proof prospect in the form of SC Freiburg’s ace in the hole this season: Nico Schlotterbeck. The 22-year-old German national has been simply brilliant this season, being one of the most in-form defenders in the world. Signing him would not necessarily give Bayern a leader in defense, but as I mentioned earlier, I firmly believe Lucas Hernández has the qualities required to lead the backline even in Manuel Neuer’s absence.

Very young in age, very strong physically, deceptively quick and also very able at progressing the ball, Schlotterbeck has displayed his quality both individually and in a system using three center-backs, something Julian Nagelsmann would be excited by considering his almost stubborn need to instill the back three into the team philosophy. He is also very good at sweeping up quickly after lapses in judgement, a definite positive as Bayern have needed a last-ditch tackle or block to bail them out on multiple occasions this season. However, Bayern should be cautious of not paying too high as Schlotterbeck is only a prospect and is yet to be proven consistently at a top level. Other clubs have splashed the cash on talent who had just one or two seasons at a top level under their belt and the player had subsequently failed to reach the price tag (think Ousmane Dembélé at FC Barcelona, João Félix at Atlético Madrid or even Harry Maguire at Manchester United).

Likelihood: 6/10
Player Quality: 7/10
Potential Price: 5/10
TOTAL: 18/30 (60%)


Which of these options is your favourite? Which position do you think we should cover next? Let us know, we’re always ready to reply and discuss.