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Bayern Munich Goalkeeper Transfer Targets: Pep Wants One, But Who?

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Bayern have carried at least three goalkeepers over the past 23 years, so chances are they do not stick with the two options they have.

Clive Rose

Having already acquired three players, Bayern Munich's business in the transfer window may have concluded even though the month of July has not.

Both CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and manager Pep Guardiola have said that the current amount of field players with Bayern should be enough for their purposes. The goalkeeper position, though, is a place where Guardiola believes the depth can improve.

"Maybe we need a goalkeeper," said Guardiola [DPA via Transfermarkt]

Bayern have not carried two goalkeepers since the 1990/91 season, when Sven Scheuer backed up Raimond Aumann. Even if backups included Maximilian Riedmüller, Rouven Sattelmaier, Michael Rensing or Jan Schlösser, Bayern invested in an insurance policy to ensure they have enough glove-wearing players.

With Manuel Neuer resting from the World Cup, Tom Starke has played every minute in goal during Bayern's preseason. That is out of necessity, for academy product Leopold Zingerle has only come along for the ride. Lukas Raeder, who was the activated insurance policy when Neuer and Starke got hurt, now dawns Vitória Setúbal FC crest on his shirt, and Bayern have yet to commit to Zingerle as a replacement.

Earlier in the transfer window, Bayern were reportedly interested in bringing Levante UD and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas to Germany, but recent reports suggest that the 27-year-old is destined to move 350 kilometers west of Valencia to Real Madrid. The inquiry in itself revealed Bayern's need, though, and they were close to spending €10 million to get that need.

The type of Goalkeeper Bayern pursues will reveal what they intend to do with their Goalkeeper position in the long run. A veteran goalkeeper would be a short-term fix that would provide some cover, while an investment in a young player could provide an eventual replacement for Neuer. Here is an outline of the types of goalkeeper options that Bayern could pursue:

The Young Investment

Bayern's established option, Manuel Neuer, is 28, while their current backup, Tom Starke, is 33. The perfect compliment that would complete Bayern's 2014/15 goalkeeper trio would be to invest in a younger option. Raeder was that guy before he transferred to Portugal, and they do not seem inclined, at least yet, to give Leopold Zingerle that opportunity either.

Good Option: Janik Schilder, Schalke 04

A move like this would be similar to acquiring Lukas Raeder, who had Ralf Fährmann and Lars Unnerstall ahead of him on the youth depth chart. Schalke just gave a professional contract to Timo Wellenreuther, and so the 18-year-old Schilder is in a similar position that Raeder was two years ago. He kept 14 clean sheets in 23 appearances last season, two of which came in the UEFA youth league. He probably is not ready for first team action, playing more with the reserves, but if Neuer and Starke stay healthy, he may not have to.

Bad Option: Mattia Perin, Genoa

Although transferring for a young, promising goalkeeper with time in the top-flight might be an attractive option to pursue, the fact remains that a player like Perrin is going to be difficult to please. He will not be a player that Bayern can stick in the Reserve team to develop him, no matter what level the reserves are playing at. This is a player that will want a timeshare, or else he will not want to come to Munich at all. Bayern would have to fork over an eight-digit transfer fee even to convince FC Genoa to relinquish him, not to mention how much Bayern would half to pay him in wages.

The Veteran Free-Transfer

This has been part of Bayern's recent transfer policy: giving a contract to a veteran goalkeeper on a free transfer. The acquisitions of Tom Starke and Hans Jörg Butt reflect that. The tradeoff to acquiring such a player, as with any veteran player at the end of his career, is convincing him to take a backseat role should the younger, longterm option become the centerpiece between the pipes. There is also the argument that Bayern already has this kind of goalkeeper in Starke, and having two of them would be short-term solutions to a long-term direction at the position.

Good Option: Timo Hildebrand, Schalke 04

Schalke acquired him in 2011 to bridge the gap between Manuel Neuer and Ralf Fährmann. With the Königsblauen promoting Wellenreuther from the U19 team, Hildebrand's contract expired when he became superfluous at the club. His track-record as a starter is spotty, getting lit up in his two years with Valencia earlier in his career, but he held his own in split time at Schalke, maintaining them as a respectable club in the Champions League.

Bad Option: Victor Valdés, Barcelona

When Valdés announced that he would not be returning to Barcelona after his contract expired, many speculated that he would rejoin his former manager in Germany. Bringing him in might fall into line perfectly since he is recovering from an ACL injury anyways. However, Bayern are likely going to have to give him a handsome contract to convince him to come, and if Bayern were in fact stingy with Toni Kroos, they probably will not be generous with a back-up goalkeeper.

The Lower-League Promotion

The one "backup" goalkeeper that Bayern purchased was Bernd Dreher in 1996 when the German was 30 years old. Most other goalkeepers they have spent a fee on have been starters first and then slowly pushed out of the XI into backups. One could safely assume that Bayern are not going to do so again this summer, but after the alleged pursuit of Keylor Navas, it is an option that people cannot rule out.

Good Option (but not really): Jens Grahl, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

If Bayern were to poach a player from a lower team, Grahl would be the one to poach. The 25-year-old has two years left on his contract with Hoffenheim, and with their acquisition Oliver Baumann from SC Freiburg, he is not going to be a longterm starter. He is a player that Bayern would not be required to play, for he sat the entire 2012/13 Bundesliga season, but can be an adequate Bundesliga keeper should Neuer and Starke simultaneously miss time again. He will cost tip-gar pennies and a washing machine to acquire too.

Bad Option: Guillermo Ochoa, AC Ajaccio

The Mexico international played the game of his life against Brazil in the Group Stages of the World Cup, and he mentioned to Bild that he "dreams of the Bundesliga". The out-of-contract keeper looks like he might be perfect to fill what Bayern needs, but would it be worth brining him to Munich? After all, he surrendered nearly two goals per game in his final season with Ajaccio, who got relegated to Ligue 2, and he has kept only seven clean sheets in his three years in France. If he's comfortable with a bench role, then it might be worth it, but other clubs are sniffing around his services as well, and Bayern should not break their back competing to sign him.