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The Myths of FC Bayern München's Transfer Record

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The English media can believe all they want, but it is still a myth

Alex Livesey

The English media has always been outlandish and shallow, not only to football across the pond but within the confines of the United Kingdom as well. Diatribes exist condemning the media, so to do so again would be wasting oxygen, for every country has at least one tabloid publication with shoddy journalism.

What is worth addressing is patterns that the over-the-top media leave underneath: the patterns to which FC Bayern München players leave the club. Many have certain assumptions engrained in their brains, linking David Alaba, Diego Contento, Dante, Toni Kroos, Mario Mandžukić, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Xherdan Shaqiri, and even Daniel van Buyten to English clubs the past few months.

With the January transfer window coming to a close, and a whole spring season of speculation in the not too distant future, the myths and legends that the English media believe in like the tooth fairy are both comical and pitiful.

1. FC Bayern is a selling club

Woah! What a baffling notion! The treble champions, the 23-time league champions, the club that has reached the UEFA Champions League final three of the last four years is not looking to sell its players. There is no inferiority complex in the Stern des Südens whatsoever, even if the English media might think so.

Before selling Luiz Gustavo and Mario Gomez over the summer, only one player has ever been sold for more than €10 million. His name is Owen Hargreaves, and an English-lead transfer saga surrounded the Three Lions alumnus for multiple years before his eventual move to Manchester United for €25 million. For that reason, any report evaluating a possible transfer of a player moving to England for even more than €10 million can be safely discarded unless evidence towards the contrary.

2. FC Bayern deal frequently with English clubs

Dieter Hamann, Roque Santa Cruz, Owen Hargreaves. Those are the only three out of hundreds of transfers to go to England via FC Bayern with a price tag attached. Hamann, a defensive midfielder, moved to Newcastle United for €7.5 million in 1998, while Santa Cruz moved to Blackburn Rovers in 2007 for €4.4 million. Hargreaves is the most notable one, for it remains the highest price departure from Bavaria to this day. Michael Ballack, Michael Tarnat, and Markus Babbel all made their way to England via the free transfer.

The most recent example would be the "supposed" Mario Gómez and Luiz Gustavo moves to England. Not only did those transfers not happen – Gómez moving to ACF Fiorentina, Luiz Gustavo moving to VfL Wolfsburg – but also the English clubs were not necessarily the first choices in either case.

Of course, the sport is becoming more globalized by the day, and the rise of English football has made every club at the top flight buyers in some regard. The realm of possibility has room for a FC Bayern transfer to England, but based on the number of occurances, that space is extremely small. The rest of that space is filled with fantasy and day-dreams.

3. Players are not breaking into the FC Bayern side, and thus are available

Any argument claiming players are not getting pitch time is not paying attention. Only one player on the squad to not have 1000 minutes in all competitions and has not had an injury that has sidelined him for at least a month. That is Conento, who has made as many starts under Pep Guardiola in half a season as he did the entirety of last season under Jupp Heynckes.

The notion that Shaqiri or Schweinsteiger are not fitting into is as dumb as the notion that the 49ºC conditions in Qatar would be a great time and place to hold a World Cup. Schweinsteiger is the vice-captain of both the defending treble champions and the German National team, while Xherdan Shaqiri is one of three pure wingers in the deepest squad in the world. Oh, and by the way, THEY BOTH HAD SIGNIFICANT INJURIES!

Sure, there are some players whose role diminish and seek pitch time on different pastures. Miroslav Klose, Luca Toni, Andreas Ottl and Paolo Guerrero all paved similar paths that Gómez did, and all of them are still playing. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, Luiz Gustavo, Emre Can, Nils Petersen, and Jan Kirchhoff all did the same, but those are transfers that only German media would cover, and likely players English clubs have no interest in.

If FC Bayern were not committed to fielding the players in its squad, the players would be long gone.

4. Impending entrances result in inevitable exits

Direct enter/exit pairs have come to pass, but not enough for it to be a pattern. The noteworthy progression of transfers would is the Giovane Elber to Roy Makaay to Klose carousel, but that sequence does not replicate with that consistency.

Several transfers have happened at similar times, but does not give evidence to a usurpation of role. Mark van Bommel falling out with Louis van Gaal was not directly linked to the incoming Luiz Gustavo from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. The love from the club towards Gómez started even before FC Bayern activated Mario Götze's buyout clause.

To Bayern's credit, the club has brought in a challenger and at least attempted to split the minutes with the incumbent on several. Tymoshchuk parted ways with FC Bayern when his contract expired, not when Javier Martínez changed countries from Spain to Germany. Klose followed a similar path when he signed with SS Lazio a year after FC Bayern poached Gómez from Stuttgart. Arjen Robben was one of the candidates to move when Götze converted from yellow to red, and both have shared the pitch in FC Bayern's treble defense.

With Robert Lewandowski coming to FC Bayern on a free transfer, the assumption is that Mandžukić will be the odd man out, making him available for plucking. CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted on numerous occasions that Mandžukić is will remain in red, and based on history, a transfer is not at all inevitable. If one is on the horizon, it is not one that anyone, let alone the media, can see through the haze.