With sub-par results it is no secret that things need to change at Bayern Munich if a return to quality performances is to be achieved. In that spirit we consulted the writers at Bavarian Football Works with a two-part roundtable. Who do you want to leave this summer and who do you want to arrive? Here we present the first part, the outgoings.
The rules were simple, there are none. No individual or position was off limits. You could hit the executive office, the players, coaches, ball boys, sausage vendors, anyone associated with the organization.
Without further ado, there are the folks that are intrepid writers would like to see gone over the summer and why:
Sadio Mané: The prized summer transfer from 2022 has floundered in Germany toiling away among the farmers. The team’s highest-paid player has not delivered the type of performances that many were expecting. In addition to his scuffling on the field, Mané got into a locker room altercation with Julian Nagelsmann and later slapped Leroy Sané in yet another clubhouse confrontation. Sometimes things just don’t work for one reason or another. This is one of those times.
Who should leave: For me, Brazzo [sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić] is the first person that must go. He has simply been at the heart of too many failings and fallings out at the club over the past seasons. From Hansi Flick, David Alaba, Robert Lewandowski or (even) Hermann Gerland’s unceremonious departures, to Nagelsmann’s recent exit — a moderate record in the transfer market cannot atone. Moreover, despite some good signings, Bayern’s squad has been incomplete and lacking transfers in key positions under Brazzo’s tutelage. Ultimately, I think Brazzo could have built a more cohesive squad and managerial strategy during his six years at the club — but also and importantly, made fewer enemies along the way.
As for players, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka are at the top of my list. No doubt great personalities and people, their skills on the pitch have plummeted from their Hansi Flick heydays. Both are now lacking any semblance of consistency and seemingly “doing nothing” on the pitch at times; they are occupying wages far above their current stations and costing Bayern far too much on the pitch and off it. Additionally, João Cancelo should not be signed. While he does have merits, a bulky transfer fee and wage packet for an ageing player all too often over-complicating situations is money wasted. I do not understand the affection brandished his way by other Bayern fans at all.
Starting at the top, in the executive office, I would suggest Kahn is the guy who should go. I end up with Kahn almost by process of elimination. The year has been a failure and it seems likely that for PR purposes (at minimum) someone is likely to get the axe. I perceive Hainer as the “business guy” and business is booming so I think he stays (plus his relationships are invaluable). Brazzo is close to Uli and to my eye has done just fine acquiring talent overall. He also has deep relationships and experience and is harder to replace. That leaves Kahn. He seems mostly a figure head with one foot in the business side and one foot in the sporting side and probably the easiest to replace. His role has never been that clear to me and thus if a front office head is on the block I think it is Kahn’s.
On the player side I expect Mané to be the biggest name to leave. Despite being a good player and a well-respected person he doesn’t seem to have found a good fit here. Unless Tuchel has some special plans for him we have not seen yet, or the club moves out other wingers, he seems a goner.
In the midfield I would move Ryan Gravenberch along, probably with a transfer. He strikes me as perfectly serviceable but I would like to add a deeper-lying midfielder and keep Marcel Sabitzer as he already has a very good relationship with Konrad Laimer. That makes Graves the odd man out. Moving Leon along could achieve the same thing but I think he has accomplished too much here to ship out after just one poor season.
If Paul Wanner recovers well from his injury I would also not be adverse to seeing Gnabry leave to allow Moose more playing time on the wing and Wanner to serve as an understudy to Muller.
Who I would like to see leave this summer: Leroy Sané, Sadio Mané, Yann Sommer, Ryan Gravenberch, possibly...Thomas Müller (depending on his situation) and Hasan Salihamidžić. I know Sané and the club have been in contract renewal talks; however, the wage inflation issue at Bayern started with Sané who has continuously underperformed, especially considering his wages. Premier League teams like him and he could leave.
A path forward for Mané seems unlikely considering his own unhappiness, poor performances and the incident with Sané as well as his wages.
Speaking of unhappy, it seems that Ryan Gravenberch can’t buy a spot in the first XI right now and he is indeed young – there is interest from elsewhere and he might go; I think he should as he deserves a chance to prove himself.
Finally, like Chuck mentioned a few weeks ago, I think Müller is a wildcard as well — how many times can you be benched regardless of your performances no matter how many times you have proven yourself in your career? Tuchel becomes another coach in a long line of them not to believe in the Raumdeuter. Müller surely wants to play in the one tournament he has never won, the Euros and, for that, he needs to be at a club where he is starting. Tuchel will win no favors with fans at all if Müller leaves (the cheers every time he is subbed on from the Allianz Arena is testament to that) but I could see it happening.
R.I.P. London Teams
There are three players that Bayern need to let go, starting with Serge Gnabry.
Ever since that Champions League winning run in 2020, Gnabry has become an inconsistent player, blowing hot and cold at random times (the latter of which has decided to show more than the former). In hindsight, giving him a contract extension wasn’t the brightest idea. I was sort of in alignment that Gnabry deserved one but now I don’t remember what it was that he did to get an extension. Now, though, he is not the player that tore apart European defences; he’s peaked at 25 and has fallen off. How sad.
Next up is Sadio Mané.
Prominent Liverpool fan and YouTuber James Redmond once said Sadio was the best player in the world, but now it’s only ifs, buts, maybes, and no more absolutes. Mané initially thrived in former coach Julian Nagelsmann’s 4-2-2-2 system as one of the two men up top, usually playing off Thomas Müller or Gnabry. The Senegalese attacker, however, slowly regressed leading up to his injury before the World Cup. Since returning, he has not been as good and has made questionable decisions on the pitch (not to mention his countless offside goals). He has just not worked out for us and it’s best for him to move on.
Last up is Ryan Gravenberch, to loan or sell.
Have we just landed ourselves the Dutch James Rodriguez? Gravenberch has been rather vocal with his discontent with not playing a lot of minutes. It’s okay to voice your disappointment but the way the former Ajax man is doing it is earning him more critics than games played. He has now gone to the media three times to say the same thing and it’s honestly annoying now. He’s still young, so maybe if we loan him out to, say, Liverpool, then he would evolve and mature his game. If he decides that he’s gonna be the next Renato Sanches, then we might have to move him and just keep Marcel Sabitzer. Sabi and Laimer can be the rotation players for Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.
Is it a cop-out to say nobody? Bayern have had enough disruption to last a few years in just the second half of the season. It’s not the time now to keep ripping it up.
That said, for some players, it’s probably time for a change of scenery. Sommer’s cameo at Manuel Neuer’s spot has been splendid; many teams would love him for a #1. Benjamin Pavard needs a place to fulfill his center-back dreams. Gravenberch needs a loan where he can show what he’s made of. Sabitzer is as good as gone to Manchester United. And the Alex Nübel drama should end.
The biggest call to make will be with Sadio Mané. I like Mané immensely, but his struggles to acclimate and more uncertain than ever position in a crowded pecking order under Tuchel don’t bode well for a second season. His contract is only for three years, meaning it’s already edging towards renewal territory. Premier League teams are hovering and it might be a relief for Mané himself to return to familiar waters. It’s the necessary move to make way for the striker everyone knows is coming.
Let us know below who you think should be leaving the club this summer, and stay tuned for our second round table on who we should be bringing in.
[Note: this was put together before the recent loss to RB Leipzig, but I was away on a bear hunt with no internet and thus it got delayed a couple of weeks, so do take that context into account]