View From The Top
As the new season draws closer and closer, most teams are plotting how to do things better and make their ‘moves’ in the transfer market. Bayern Munich, having won the domestic double, are just looking to stay on top of the German and European game. It is a common saying that “When you reach the top, the only way you can go from there, is down!” Bayern Munich, however, would want to stay there at the top as long as they can.
In addition, they would love to finish this season on the verge of re-writing the history books of German soccer, ending their campaign as German league winners and Cup winners with a European cup thrown in for good measure. In the infinite realm of possibilities of course, Bayern could complete their treble next season and retain all two titles next season too. Still, one can bet that the Bayern hierarchy is going to do all it can to give their team the best possible shot at playing for a second double next season.
Owner Decides To Rock
Just a week back Club president Uli Hoeneß announced his candidacy for this year’s German Football League DFL’s presidential election against Borussia Dortmund boss Reinhard Rauball, who has held the job since 2007. Hoeneß had been chosen as the president of Bayern Munich last year after serving as their general manager for the past three decades. During his leadership Bayern became the wealthiest and the most successful German club ever. But there was a sudden u-turn when Hoeneß publicly declared that he has pulled out of the running to become the DFL president.
Even though it is still unclear as to why Hoeneß pulled out of the race, Bayern would continue to reap benefits if Hoeneß remains committed to them.
Favorable Settlement Over Allianz Arena Dispute
In Munich, District Court has handed down the verdict in the Allianz Arena catering dispute: It was a big victory for FC Bayern Munich, as TSV 1860 Munich was ordered to pay the Allianz Arena corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of FC Bayern Munich) €542,344 plus interest and court costs.
Although TSV 1860’s legal team stated that it would explore appellate remedies, it seems unlikely that the financial condition of 1860 will allow for an even more protracted battle in the courts after this whopping defeat. The verdict virtually ends 1860’s stay at the Allianz Arena and will provide an impetus for negotiations between 1860 and the arena corporation to dissolve 1860’s long term rental contract at the arena, as they clearly cannot afford to fulfill it.
There is also still the matter of the dispute over the valuation of shares when FC Bayern bought out 1860’s shares in the stadium corporation to save them from insolvency in 2006. This is probably another reason why Hoeneß declined his participation in the presidential election.
Chairman’s Eye View
According to club chairman Karl-Heinze Rummenigge Bayern Munich will remain conservative in its spending despite another successful season on and off the pitch and is not planning any major new signings.Louis van Gaal’s team has won a double. Even it failed to win the treble, Bayern is enjoying a financial windfall and will be profitable for the 16th straight season.
Bayern had a turnover of $405 million in its last financial year, ranking fourth behind Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United. Unlike many other big European clubs, the Bavarians have no huge debt. Rummenigge has stated that the club does not want to compete with the other three top clubs in terms of turnover. The main goal is to work profitably to a brighter future. He believes that the competition among the best clubs will grow even more “merciless” and Rummenigge said that “incredible sums” will be invested in the transfer market by clubs such as Manchester City if they qualify for the Champions League.
Spanish clubs will also invest heavily again, Rummenigge predicted, but his own club will not follow suit. He mentioned that there will be no major changes. The club wishes to keep its best players and they are going to build another pillar around their young stars.
He had an anonymous season on loan at Celtic. He failed to make any impression during his stay in Celtic and was finally dropped from their starting line up. It is highly likely that he will be third choice to Badstuber and Diego Contento. Bayern will preferably like to sell him off to Ajax as a swap + cash offer in place of Gregory Van Der Wiel.
The highly rated youngster comes back after an uneventful loan spell at FC Nuremberg. He might be off for another loan spell for more exposure and experience. He has been tipped to replace one of the two ageing centre halves in Demichelis and Van Buyten.
The talented youth product was sent for more match practice in FC Nuremberg. But considering the solidity of the Bayern midfield and the home coming of yet another talent in Kroos, Ottl might be let go off.
Jose Ernesto Sosa
Returns from Estudiantes. The attacking midfielder is likely to leave the Bayern set up for good.Either of Napoli and Parma seems to be his destination.
Van Gaal has a plan for Bayern’s youngest ever player to feature in a competitive fixture for the future. His recent stint in the ongoing U-19 European Championship against England has impressed the Bayern faithful. His contract has already been extended.He has been promoted from Bayern Munich II to play with the senior team for the first time.
The young German prodigy is back after a phenomenal loan spell at Leverkusen. Bayer wished to keep his services for the coming season as well. But Van Gaal wants to include him in his plans for the next season.
Out: Luca Toni(Genoa)
Toni followed up his excellent goal scoring record at Fiorentina in the furst season with Bayern. He was the leading goal scorer of Bundesliga in 2007-08. Even though he was sidelined due to a long injury spell, he still managed to remain Bayern’s top goal scorer for the second successive season as well. Last year Toni fell out with Van Gaal when the former was substituted at half time. He was also fined for leaving the stadium during the match. Later Bayern’s president Uli Hoeneß announced publicly that Toni should be on his way back to Italy on a free transfer after the season is over.
After having moderate success in Roma, where he netted five times in seventeen games, for the past six months’ loan spell, he is finally let go for free to Genoa to start his career afresh.
The understudy of Kahn failed to live up to the expectation and has been released at the end of the season.
The Bavarian right back was sent to Karlsruhe on loan for more than two seasons. After the end of the loan spells he failed to impress Van Gaal and was demoted to the reserve squad and now he has been released.
Christian Lell(Hertha Berlin)
After the Bayern youth graduate failed to make his mark he was finally offloaded to Hertha Berlin.This ended a 17 year connection dating back to July 1, 1993 when he joined Bayern Munich’s youth academy.
Mehmet Ekici(FC Nuremberg, loan)
Another youth graduate from the Bayern ranks has been loaned out for an entire season to experience first team football.
Georg Niedermeier(VFB Stuttgart)
The defender was on loan to Stuttgart last year. This year he was finally sold to them.
Areas of concern for Bayern Munich
In order to stay on top the Bavarians might have to add firepower in almost all the departments to cope with the long season. Even though Hans-Joerg Butt had probably played his best ever season in the Bavarian outfit, doubts regarding the suitability of the veteran keeper throughout a long season still persists. The two time loser in Champions League final was a make-shift change between the transition of Bayern from the Kahn era to the Rensing era. But Rensing, the one-time anointed successor to Oliver Kahn has faded badly. He has been be released by the club this summer and is likely to join Red Bull Salzburg. All in all Bayern need a young new goal keeper to replace Butt immediately or in a season’s time.
Defense seems to be another pivotal area of concern for Bayern. The two centre halves Buyten and Demichelis are not only aging, but have also had their weaknesses and technical inabilities brutally exposed in Champions League knock out stages. Holger Badstuber was made to play out of position in the left back role for most part of the season, with Munich youth graduate Diego Contento replacing him on rare occasions. Atleast one young pair of fresh legs is required at the heart of the Bayern defense. The sale of talented Matts Hummels must have hurt them hard. The talented youth prodigy of Bayern was sold to Dortmund last year and since then Hummels has had an enigmatic pairing with Subotic in Bundesliga.
In fullbacks, the problems keep lingering, mainly due to the transfer rumours doing rounds. Left back seems to be another soft spot in the Bayern defense as they did not have proper left back last season. Badstuber was made to play in that position and Contento did well with whatever chance was given to the young one. A decent left back is needed indeed.
There is no need for any additional midfielder following the arrival of Toni Kroos after his loan spell. He might be used as an understudy to the aging Van Bommel or Schweinsteiger to take up the holding midfielder’s role or as a deep lying playmaker. Austria U-19 David Alaba and young Turk Mehmet Ekici will surely get their chance this season for the senior team.
Up front, Miroslav Klose’s playing time has dwindled down to bit player status and Mario Gomez has lost his place as well. Bayern’s attack now rests on Thomas Müller and Ivica Olic. Premier league clubs have shown significant interest in signing Klose, the veteran German. Bayern might prefer to cash in on Klose to balance the book in order to bid for any quality striker.
FC Hollywood have always been eye-candy for gossip-gurus and rumor-mills. Even after a successful last season with a side solid in most departments the Bavarian giants are cited as destinations for all possible marquee signings in the upcoming season.
Rumours that Bayern fans would like to see materialize
Signing of a new Goalkeeper
Bayern’s former French contingent Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu have been publicly urging the club to make a move for Lyon and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. Performances of Manuel Neuer during the world cup finals has not gone unnoticed. Even AZ Alkmaar netminder Sergio Romero, who has played under Van Gaal, has been linked with a move to Allianz Arena.
THT Verdict: Lyon would not want to part ways with Lloris. Grinding out transfers with Lyon’s star players has been an uphill task. possibility slim. However, signing of Romero or Neuer is quite possible.
Signing of Gregory Van Der Wiel from Ajax
This signing, coupled with the fact that Lahm is staying put, will put Bayern’s fullback-related issues to rest.Van Der Wiel, a proven talent, perfomrance-wise had a great World Cup finals tournament and managed to attract Premier League interest. If Bayern get hold of him, they can play him in the rightback position and subsequently swap Lahm back to the leftback position, thereby letting Badstuber play in a more central role.
THT Verdict: High
A move for the flying Portuguese
Rumours are ripe that in order to neutralise its fullback blues, Bayern are looking forward to sign Fábio Coentrão from Benfica. The Portuguese League Breakthrough player of the year has made his mark in this year’s world cup finals. Signing him would let Bayern do away with Van Der Wiel signing, provided they keep hold off prized asset Lahm.
The curious case of pre-agreement with Khedira
A surprise breath of fresh rumors sprung to the fore when Sami Khedira’s agent disclosed a pre-agreement between Bayern officials and Khedira, on the brink of Khedira’s transfer talk with Real Madrid.This does come as a surprise as Bayern are solid in the holding midfield area. Maybe Bayern are planning to release Schweinsteiger into a more offensive role or willing to deploy Khedira as an understudy of veteran Van Bommel or a replacement for wanted star Schweinsteiger.
THT Verdict: Depends on Schweinsteiger’s transfer talk.
Signing of the Bosnian Footballer Of The Year
With Klose in premiership link and Mario Gomez’s form sliding steadily downhill, it is rumored that Van Gaal might be interested to offload the two German internationals and bring in Džeko to partner Müller and Olic upfront. Speculations are high that Džeko, one of the most consistent hottest properties of Bundesliga for the past two years, might be sold to Bayern and Gomez will be used as a makeweight in the cash plus swap deal.
THT Verdict: Medium as Džeko’s transfer to Milan has been stalled for some time now.
Signing of Ghana Prodigy Ayew
Ghana star Andre Ayew has also been linked with a move to Allianz Arena. In the recently concluded World Cup the young Marseille prodigy had been chosen as one of the three nominees for the World Cup’s Young Player award. He managed to win Player of the Match award after a stellar performance against USA in the round of sixteen match. A left-footed winger, he could probably only expect to contend for spot duty behind Ribery or Olic, although Bayern’s interest may indicate they planning for all contingencies with Ribery’s legal situation.
THT Verdict: Depends upon the outgoing movement of players from Bayern. Offensively Bayern are complete but transfer of Müller, Klose or Gomez might make way for the Ghanaian. And given that only a year is left in Ayew’s contract, Marseille would like to cash in on him, if the need arises.
Rumours Bayern fans would NOT like to see materialize
Selling off Lahm to Manchester United
Manchester United have yet again rekindled their desire to sign the 5-time Uefa Team Of The Year candidate. Probably, the Devils are looking to fill in the gap of Gary Neville for the future. In order to make the deal go through they are also rumored to have been ready to use either Park or Berbatov as makeweights along with cash.
Now we have seen in the past how diffifcult it had been for United to do business with Bayern. Bayern themselves are struggling with their leftback pangs. In such a dire situation of Bayern defensive shambles, it is hard to believe that Bayern would accept the overtures of United for the diminutive versatile genius. If and only if the deal monetarily favors Bayern in a way so that they can snap up either or both Van Der Wiel and Coentrão, might they give a nod for the transfer.
THT Verdict: Unlikely considering Bayern’s attitude towards selling their stalwarts to their European rivals in England. It all depends on whether Bayern can get Lahm to sign a new contract.
Schweinsteiger to Premier League/La Liga
Once a Bayern Munich youth graduate was one of stars of the World Cup finals for Die Mannschaft, not for the first time though. At the age of 26 he has already played in more than eighty international matches for them. In this World Cup also he has produced three assists, the highest number of assists in the World Cup, jointly shared with co-patriot and team mate Müller. The Golden Ball nominee has been under intense speculations of leaving Allianz Arena this summer, with interest coming from both the Premier League and La Liga. In a recent interview he voiced his opinion that playing abroad is an opportunity that excites him.
Interests from Chelsea and Real Madrid has been immense since then. Though Bayern has warned off any possible suitors for Schweinsteiger. But Bayern’s recent link up with Khedira hints that they might sell off Schweinsteiger as the player has expressed his desire to play abroad for a change.
THT Verdict: Medium.
Thomas Müller to Chelsea/Manchester City
It was expected that the World Cup Golden Boot winner will be the cynosure of the transfer market. The Bayern Munich youth graduate has carried his successful club form to the national level and is duly wanted by the English champions Chelsea and their rivals Manchester City. After his spectacular heroics in the World Cup it is expected that Bayern would only politely brush off such audacious advances of other clubs.
THT Verdict: Nil
We, at TheHardTackle, expect Louis Van Gaal to respect the philosophy of chairman Rummenigge and the fans’ sentiment before making a move for the future. Van Gaal has shown interest in grooming the Bayern youth products and already Diego Contento is a first team member, David Alaba has been promoted to the senior team and Mehmet Ekici has been sent on loan to gain first team experience. But in the wake of the resurgence of Spanish and English clubs, it is for everybody to see how Bayern cope with the upcoming battle of the transfer market.