Niklas Süle’s decision to leave Bayern Munich on a free transfer this summer has raised a plethora of question marks around the club’s handling of his contract situation.
Despite having a major setback in the 2019/20, treble-winning season with his cruciate ligament tear, he’s been a very important part of Bayern’s back line for Hansi Flick, Julian Nagelsmann, Niko Kovac, and even Jupp Heynckes. He was especially important during the hinrunde this season when he had to deputize a handful of weeks at right back when Benjamin Pavard and Josip Stanisic were both unavailable. You’d be hard pressed to find a Bayern fan that wouldn’t say Süle is genuinely worth his weight in gold, but much like David Alaba to Real Madrid last summer, they’ll be losing him this summer on a free transfer.
Former Bayern and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann shares the sentiment that Süle was often too underestimated at Bayern and was perhaps overlooked because he was never really touted to be a bonafide starter when he was purchased from TSG Hoffenheim back in 2017. At different times, he’s had to compete with Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Lucas Hernandez, Dayot Upamecano, and even Javi Martinez. Süle was always underestimated a bit. He’s an old-school Yeah player and has always embodied what FC Bayern is about,” Hamann said in a recent interview (Sport Bild).
While he did miss the bulk of the 2019/20 season, Süle did play in the Champions League tournament in Lisbon, Portugal, and as Hamann recalled, had a fantastic performance in the final against Paris Saint-Germain when he was subbed on early for Boateng. “When he was substituted on early in the 2020 Champions League final against Paris Saint-Germain, he showed a very strong game in the most important game of the year against this top offensive. And that despite the fact that he had been out for several months due to a cruciate ligament tear. That was madness,” Hamann stressed.
Since it’s been confirmed that Süle will definitely be leaving this summer, there have been a handful of names linked to be his replacement. Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen seem to be at the top of the list of names, and Christensen in particular, is someone Hamann feels would be a viable replacement after losing Süle. “At Bayern, the ability to open the game is almost more important than just defending. Rüdiger is certainly good at that, but Christensen is even better at building up the game. He would help Bayern tremendously and would be a great signing overall as a replacement for Süle,” Hamann explained.