The snow melting and the temperature rising is a sign the pinnacle of the footballing season is not very far away. Once leagues award their trophies, discussion of the next season is quickly thrusted into the foreground.
Bayern Munich, being one of the best run clubs in the world, do not have much to address, but issues hang over the club's head. Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, opening his doors to the media including an in-depth interview with Welt am Sonntag, addressed many of these issues. He provided a lot of fodder for the public to digest, so let us go through the five things he said that rattled the world the most.
1. Pep Guardiola will stay past 2016
That Rummenigge would be bullish on retaining one of the world's best managers comes to nobody's surprise. That said, the reason for his optimism is assuring for Bayern fans.
"We will find a solution," he told Welt am Sonntag. "I know Pep and his family feel very good in Munich. He has not said anything against being our manager past 2016. I see him as an extremely important key to our success story that we are experiencing."
As one would expect, the media has jumped on the infinite possibilities which could result from Guardiola's expiring contract in 2016, almost as if he were a superstar player. A future where he remains Bayern's manager is not difficult to forecast, squashing the pipe dream of everyone wanting the gaffer to move to their team.
2. Philipp Lahm is a candidate to take over the club
As with most clubs in Germany, Bayern is a club where its former players have prominent roles in running the club. If Bayern were to continue this way, inevitably some of the current players will have to step in the drivers seat. Lahm is one of the successors Rummenigge has in mind, and it is something the two have already talked about.
"I told Philipp when he extended his contract: if he has interest, let us know," he said.
Born in Munich, Lahm has Bayern running through his veins. His contract runs until 2018, at which time he will be 34, and his future beyond that is not clear. He is not the only person Rummenigge has considered as possible replacements though.
"We have a few candidates with us: Philipp, Manuel, Thomas, Bastian," he continued. "They are not just great footballers, but sage men. I would have confidence in them."
3. Bayern's transfer timeline
As BILD attests, Bayern already have most of their key players locked up until 2017 and beyond, barring notable exceptions – Xabi Alonso, Claudio Pizarro, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Mitchell Weiser. Contrary to popular belief, Bayern have a timeline to address their personnel, and Rummenigge revealed what it is.
"We have a timeline and will deal with transfers in April at the earliest," he said. "Before we have attempted to execute transfers as early as possible. In the meantime, we are waiting a bit longer."
BILD believes there have already been conversations between Schweinsteiger's agent and the club. Rummenigge knows Bayern has a clear direction, and that is important.
"It is crucial to have a philosophy," he said. "We have one."
4. England clubs will eventually figure out how to spend their money
The new domestic television deal in the United Kingdom was all over the news, but so is the fact no English clubs remain in European competition, as opposed to the two German clubs – Bayern and Wolfsburg – who are in the quarterfinals of the Champions League and the Europa League.
"...and that is while these clubs already have more money available than Bundesliga clubs," said Rummenigge. "That is a flop, which British have rarely experienced. I certainly fear that the English will invest their money better and will become better as a whole."
Bayern have only thrice spent more than €30 million on a player, and their transfer record is the €40 million move to bring Javi Martínez to Germany. Six clubs in England spent at least €30 million on a player last summer (three spending more than €40 million), and only one club, Chelsea, did not have a net spend in the transfer market.
"The transfer amounts and the salaries in the top flight will continue to clime. For that I am certain."
5. Julian Green can play at Bayern
Three players – four including the fully departed Xherdan Shaqiri – are currently on loan from Bayern right now, and the American journalists only care about one: Julian Green. His loan at Hamburger SV is a tenuous situation to say the least, but Rummenigge still has confident in his development.
"It's looking likely that he'll come back at the end of the season, and we'll have to sit together to find the best solution for him," Rummenigge told Goal.com's Mike Selane. "I don't believe that at first he'll be here at Bayern. He will probably need one more year at a club wherever – in Germany or England, I don't know – to show his quality, and I believe he has that quality."
Hamburg just let go of their second manager over the weekend, making this the second year the Dinosauren have employed three different managers in one season. Reports of dissent between Green and Hamburg bubbled to the surface once talk of the 19-year-old playing with the reserves came about, and the youngster has featured in just five matches for Hamburg over the course of the season.
"Hamburg is in a very difficult position," he continued. "They fired their coach yesterday and that is one more sign that things at Hamburg are not going well. Maybe he is suffering because of the situation at the club and maybe he's not playing because it looks like he didn't have a good relationship with the old coach. Maybe that will change now in a better way because he's a nice guy, he's skillful and he's a good dribbler."