The (80) Million Dollar Question.


Okay, let's rewind. The year is 2018. A 22-year Lucas Hernandez has just announced himself on the world stage, where he cemented himself as one of the most versatile young defenders on the planet with as he navigated the game with such class rare to find in a youngster. The World Cup winning starter for France watches his market value go on a constant rise the following year, peaking on February 28, 2019; just days after he suffered his first real injury, which would see him out for 178 days.

And then, the bombshell. Exactly one month after Transfermarkt gave him a market value of €70m, on 28th March, 2019, FC Bayern officially confirmed all the rumors going about: Lucas Hernandez has signed for the club. He would join the club from Atletico Madrid while he was injured, on the 1st of July of the same year. This transfer was obviously met with skepticism, for Bayern had to shell out a club record signing fee of €80m. What unfolded next, would be nothing short of a fairytale (or would it?).

That brings us to the present day, where those same, multitude of rumors surrounding Lucas Hernandez are back again, but this time about his departure from FC Bayern to the most unlikely of destinations for the Marseille-born centre-back: PSG. And then arises the 80 Million Dollar Question — In the end, was it all worth it? Bayern fans seem very divided on the matter. Get your coffee ready, 'cause there's a lot to unpack.

Is Bayern's Costly Gamble Coming to an End?


Lucas Hernandez alongside Kalle, being announced as the most expensive signing in club history. (Source: YT/ FC Bayern)

The word gamble perfectly captures this signing. In essence, it does so for most expensive transfers. When you spend such an amount of money, you have to keep in mind that there is virtually no real guarantee about how the player will perform. FC Bayern have always been smart in that aspect, keeping signing fees low while still managing to secure great players.

The signing of Lucas was, somewhat, an exception while it also became an revelation. See, before this, the highest fee Bayern had paid for a player was €41.5m, for Corentin Tolliso. It also paved the way for more expensive signings in the future to secure superstars: Sane, Upamecano, de Ligt. Some of these gambles paid off, while some didn't (yet).

But what about Lucas? You see, unlike the other players I mentioned, Lucas has the tag of "record signing fee" that would always be held over his head. To get rid of that tag, or rather, justify it; one would have to perform to their maximum ability with 100% consistency in a way that benefits the team. Else, the fans will always find reasons to say that the transfer was not worth it (and to some extent, rightfully so).

In Lucas' case, this 'reason' is his rather concerning injury record. That's our next bit. But the major takeaway from this part is simple: Lucas HAD to justify his price. That's what the article revolves around: if he leaves the club today, has he done enough over the last few years at this club up till now for the fans to confidently say that Lucas has been a 'successful transfer' keeping his price in mind? (key words: keeping his price in mind).

The Incessant Injuries...


Lucas Hernandez pictured sustaining another injury (Source: Eurosport)

Since FC Bayern announced Hernandez's signing, he has missed 481 of 1434 days. This included 65 games, which makes up for roughly 34% of the games Bayern played in this time (data via Transfermarkt). It is no secret, really. Lucas Hernandez's troubling injury record is the only reason this conversation is taking place. Lucas Hernandez and injury-prone have even become somewhat synonymous, much to the dismay of the fans.

There cannot be a single doubt on whether or not he is 'good enough' if we judge solely from his performances on the pitch. Underperformance has never been the issue with Lucas as it might have been with others. If there is one thing about Lucas, it is that he always gave his best on the pitch. He is a fighter, and there is no taking that away from him. When fit, Lucas can very well be our best centre-back. His fortunes however, are not in his favor.

The only thing that pulls him back are these injuries. Like I said, if this wasn't the case, there would be no doubt in any of our minds: Lucas Hernandez has been a vividly successful transfer. Unfortunately, those are some troubling numbers. It causes a lack of consistency and hence forms the basis of the questions against the credibility of his transfer. In simple terms, it's his only drawback, and it's one big enough that its seemingly possible to warrant selling him and for some, even to go as far as calling him a flop.


Lucas Hernandez shows his passion for he club as he celebrates his goal against FC Barcelona. (Source: FC Bayern)

The best example of this situation remains poetic: Lucas joined FC Bayern sustaining an injury and by the looks of it, he will leave the same way: injured.

To answer the question!

It's... difficult. Yes, I know, this is not the radical answer most of you readers would've wanted after all this; but hear me out. One cannot say with certainty that if Lucas is to part ways with FC Bayern after all this, he was been a successful transfer. Neither is it fair to him and all the wonderful performances that earned him a place in our hearts to say with conviction that he isn't.

Really, it just depends. At this point of time, with a Lucas exit dooming, I would be inclined to say that maybe he wasn't worth all the money, and that is only because of him being plagued by injuries. But one thing that I am convinced of: if Lucas stays, not only will he fully justify his price tag, but also take the place of legend at our club. That is how convinced I am of his ability.

There is one condition however, where the Lucas transfer can be deemed worth it while he also exits the club. That condition is the price PSG pay to obtain him. If we were to make even about €40m back, I can say Lucas has done more than enough for his transfer to be considered 'worth it', and the price being flaunted in the media is €60m. It seems to be the most likely scenario.

Because that is the question; the (80) Million Dollar Question; Was it all worth it?


Looking at Fabrizio confirm the rumors and even say that its a very real possibility sends a dagger through by heart. For all of his flaws (really, it was just one: his injuries), Lucas Hernandez will always remain a very memorable player to me. All the memories come flooding back: the big-eared-cup over his head, every game where he gave it his all for FC Bayern, and most notably, him kissing the FC Bayern badge after his goal against Barcelona.


Lucas Hernandez with the Champions League trophy over his head: a unique way to celebrate the greatest of success. (Source: MARCA)

It is completely wrong to call him a 'snake' for we still haven't seen anything really concrete regarding his exit. Remember: His home was and hopefully will continue to always be FC Bayern. He even asked Mbappe to join us, which in itself is proof enough.

As unlikely as it may start to seem, from my side, I hope he stays, extends, and continues the story he has written so far. A story that he wrote with FC Bayern in his heart.

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