The Bayern Munich captain has recently taken a shot at big-spending clubs like Manchester City and PSG, saying that great teams are built around a strong core of homegrown talent.
Bayern Munich is currently one of the most feared sides in Europe, and has a squad capable of competing with the very best. Alongside the likes of big-name signings like Arturo Vidal and Robert Lewandwoski, the core of homegrown players like Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm have made the Bavarians a force to be reckoned with.
Lahm believes that a strong core of home-grown players is essential for a club to make the transition from ‘good’ to ‘great’. The World Cup winner insists that this is a lesson big-spending clubs like Manchester City and PSG need to learn.
“I don’t think you can buy a really great team with money, like Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City are trying,” Lahm said in his exclusive column for goal.com.
“There is one main criterion for me which marks a club that is successful in the long-term: big players, who grew with their clubs, whose names are tied to the success and who have a 100 per cent identification with the team, the club and its history.
“I am convinced that all big teams had these symbols and I am convinced that future big teams need them as well.”
Lahm gave examples of the great players he has played against who were symbolic of their clubs — Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes for Manchester United, Xavi and Andres Iniesta for Barcelona, and Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos for Real Madrid.
Money doesn’t make legends
Both Manchester City and PSG have spent millions in assembling a squad consisting of the best talent in the world. Though this has lead to domestic success and entry into the list of the elite clubs in the world, arguably neither have produced a team that would be regarded as legendary — a team that would instantly be identified with the club and its successes.
While the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Kevin de Bruyne could easily walk into any team in the world right now, it can be argued that the mercenary approach to player recruitment doesn’t create a unit of players who become synonymous with a club. If PSG and Manchester City want to develop players who will go on to become legends, they will need to hand opportunities to homegrown talents from their academy.