The chatter is growing louder throughout Europe: Bayern Munich defender David Alaba is almost certainly exiting Germany.
The talented Austrian might not be the only veteran leaving Bayern Munich’s back-line, though. Jerome Boateng is also a free agent this summer and his return to Bavaria is not a sure thing either.
With Niklas Süle, Lucas Hernandez, Tanguy Nianzou, Chris Richards, and Benjamin Pavard as options to play centrally, it is not as if Bayern Munich is lacking options; but are they the right candidates for Hansi Flick?
Sport Bild has already reported that the club is reluctant to push Pavard back inside after he has settled in at right-back (recent struggles aside). Bouna Sarr and Alphonso Davies are not candidates to slide into the middle of the defense and Hernandez has not seemed to have won over Flick just yet. It can be safely assumed, however, that Hernandez will be the starting LCB next season even if Flick has his doubts.
Richards and Nianzou are young and willing, but lack big-game experience as of now, while Süle has had an up-and-down season this season after suffering an ACL tear during the 2019/2020 campaign.
As you can see, there is depth, but is it the depth that Flick wants?
Recently, Bayern Munich has been linked to RB Leipzig center-back Dayot Upamecano, who reportedly has also garnered interest from deep-pocketed clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea. With a release clause that is allegedly in the neighborhood of €42.5 million, Upamecano is not exactly a cost-conscious target in the COVID-19 financial landscape.
Should Liverpool or Chelsea be willing to pay the fee and provide a better salary/bonus structure, Bayern Munich could be playing the role of bridesmaid in its pursuit of the talented 22-year-old.
If that happens, where should Bayern Munich’s focus be?
Well, if Richards and Nianzou are not yet ready (only Flick can make that assessment) and if Süle cannot find his form consistently — and if Hernandez cannot breakthrough in Flick’s eyes, there could be a good, versatile, option also with RB Leipzig: Lukas Klostermann.
Klostermann is just 24-years-old, but has vast experience both in the Bundesliga and internationally. At 6-foot-2 (1.89 meters), Klostermann has the requisite size that Bayern Munich desires from its center-backs and the former track star also has the blazing speed to manage Flick’s high-line tactics.
More, Klostermann can seamlessly slide out to right-back should Pavard’s form dip or if the Frenchman suffers an injury. Even with the versatility, Klostermann’s key attribute for Bayern Munich is his foot-speed.
Whether he lines up at center-back or right-back, Klostermann offers the qualities that Flick desires for those positions. In addition, Hernandez’s presence and Sule’s ability to play the left-side when needed (he frequently did so when group with Boateng early in his Bayern Munich tenure) offers Flick several different options should he need them.
In the end, Klostermann would likely cost less overall (transfer fee + salary + bonuses) than Upamecano or any other quality option on the market. Transfermarkt values Klostermann at €38 million, but again, that number is likely higher than what Leipzig would sell him for during the COVID-19 Era and the overall financial sum would undoubtedly be less than what Bayern Munich would have to pay for Upamecano.