Bayern Munich is a rich club with a problem: Convincing top-tier, world class players to make the move to — or stay in — Germany.
In 2022, Bayern Munich famously made a stealthy run at Erling Haaland, who ultimately left for the greener pastures of Manchester City (you know what kind of green we mean!). That little foray is also rumored to have been the final straw for Robert Lewandowski’s patience with the Bavarians as well. Lewandowski, of course, then bolted for FC Barcelona.
The solution to the newfound problem at striker was first to roll out Sadio Mané as if he could film the role (he could not), then to go a striker-less formation (fun, but ultimately not sustainable), and then to lob all of the club’s hopes on an off-injured, back-up: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
It was fine…but did not exactly have anyone scouring the market to book flights to the Champions League final in Istanbul.
Striker, however, is not the only position where Bayern Munich is facing a problem. After what could be considered to be a rollicking blitz to convince West Ham’s Declan’s Rice to join the club, he deferred because he has no interest in leaving England in favor of Germany.
Even in what was considered to be a “sure thing” situation with Napoli’s Kim Min-jae, Manchester City burst through the door in hopes of a late hijacking. How that ultimately works out remains to be seen.
The transfer game is more difficult than ever, so what can Bayern Munich do to survive?
Let’s take a look:
- Continue building the war chest: Bayern Munich makes money…lots of it. Instead of resorting to panic buys or making bad investments in players who might not fit, the club should continue to bolster its savings and be ready to overpay for a player (transfer fee and salary) when it is fully convinced (like in the situation of Haaland).
- Get better at developing talent: For too long, the Bayern Munich campus has failed to yield a serious homegrown talent, who can grow to be a star. Given the current landscape, Bayern Munich is no longer guaranteed of being a destination club for proven players…and the club needs to realize that fact and evolve.
- Make the right moves: There is no room for error in this environment. When Bayern Munich goes big, it must be certain on both talent and fit. One reckless or forced move could damage the club for years. This summer, there appears to be something in the respective games of Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani, and Juventus’ Dušan Vlahović that has Bayern Munich balking at the money required to get a deal done. If that is the case, it is hard to fault the club. Right now, the Bavarians are in a spot where they need to be 100% on any massive move.
- Go dumpster diving: Now...hear me out. I am not advocating for Bayern Munich to fly to Connecticut to start pulling players out of the Beer League that Tom Adams plays in, but I am saying that there are going to be valuable players, who can fill a role until the club is ready to enter the “Splash Zone.” For example, Werder Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug is far from perfect, but if Bayern Munich fails to get an expensive striker, the club might need to consider rolling with a tandem of Choupo-Moting and Füllkrug (not playing together) to get through next season. Füllkrug will be cheap and is efficient around the net. If Bayern Munich cannot get the striker it wants, it might have to settle for a player it needs — if a reasonable price is attached. It wouldn’t be the perfect solution, but it would be affordable and allow the club to focus on transfer target it might be more comfortable with for the 2024/25 season.
Nothing is easy, but the situation is not a lost cause just yet. The coming years will change football forever as more state or oil-funded teams will continue to rule the roost. In the beginning, those clubs were prone to making mistakes and putting together teams of high-priced, ill-fitting parts. Now, they are learning and adapting. Once they figure it all out, Bayern Munich had better hope it has a “winning plan” drawn up.