Bayern Munich has been very busy this summer transfer window, perhaps more than anyone would’ve expected. Robert Lewandowski has finally completed his much anticipated move to FC Barcelona, but Bayern has signed Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch, Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt, and they might not be done, either. Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn spoke about the club’s transfer strategies ahead of Wednesday’s friendly with DC United.
“It’s impossible in Munich to keep things secret,” Kahn said (CBS Sports) of all the attention now fixated on the club’s every action. “I learned it as a player and now as part of the board. This is one of the most difficult challenges I have to face.”
Of course, a transfer saga involving a player of Lewandowski’s stature and a club like Barça didn’t make it any easier. Especially after the war of words escalated — “Something died inside me”, Lewy declared in his statement begging out. “Basta!” Kahn had retorted; enough! There’s a contract!
But Kahn, sporting director Hasan Salihamidzić, and CEO Herbert Hainer have managed to roll with the punches and have made the most of a turbulent situation.
“We lost Lewandowski to FC Barcelona, one of the best strikers — if not the best striker — in the world. He gave us a lot, scored 30-to-40 goals per season. When I said that we were ready to keep Lewandowski at the club, we had no other options, also no offers from other clubs. That’s why I said no. Then things changed. Now we have [Sadio] Mane with us, and Barcelona made us a very attractive offer to buy Lewandowski,” he explained.
“We had the opportunity to develop the team further for the future and my job is to look at the future. That’s why we signed [Matthijs] de Ligt and why we always try to find a balance between experienced and world-class players such as Mane and also young talented players with a great future like De Ligt,” Kahn said of Bayern’s most recent transfer that wound up flying straight to Washington DC just hours after finalizing his move to the club in Munich to join up with the rest of the squad.
For De Ligt, one of the most exciting and promising facets of his game is his leadership abilities at only 22 years of age. He was given the captain’s armband at only 19 years of age when he was with Ajax and is already a bright, defensive leader, which is something that Kahn rates very highly, as does Julian Nagelsmann. “We have a very good defense at the moment. We tried to find a player who can lead, a player that can lead on the pitch. De Ligt is present on the pitch, he’s loud, we needed a player that the others could hear when he’s on the field. That’s very important for the motivations of the players. I like it very much if a player is loud and noisy on the field. At the moment, I think we have a very attractive mixture of players in our roster,” he explained.