Manuel Veth –
Bayern München want Sandro Wagner, and Wagner wants Bayern. This much seems to be confirmed after today’s press conference by Julian Nagelsmann ahead of Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga game against Eintracht Frankfurt.
“That is correct, and we didn’t find out about it yesterday [when it was published in Bild]. We are aware of what the player wants.” Nagelsmann further stated with a grin on his face: “I can confirm giving you guys something real special.”
Germany’s Bild reported about Sandro Wagner possibly joining Bayern München in the winter yesterday. The transfer, however, is far from a done deal and Nagelsmann explained: “We won’t make any further statements until we have a final decision.”
Bayern Need a Forward
Bayern have most certainly been in the hunt for a forward, who could act as a backup for Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker has been outspoken about the fact that he felt overplayed at times. But Heynckes has been somewhat coy on the possibility of signing a new forward and speaking to kicker the Bayern coached explained that it would be difficult to sign a forward that has both the quality and also is eligible to play in the Champions League this season.
For that reason, Heynckes has toyed with the idea of playing both Thomas Müller and James Rodríguez up front. Perhaps Heynckes’ statements were part of Bayern’s overall transfer strategy in the Wagner case. After all, it has been public knowledge that Wagner wants to return to Bayern where he played from 1997 to 2007. Furthermore, Sandro Wagner’s family lives in Munich’s suburb of Unterhaching and Wagner has long hedged the wish to return home.
Wagner, however, has just extended his contract with Hoffenheim until 2020, which means that Nagelsmann and sporting director Alexander Rosen are holding the cards in the transfer poker between Bayern and Hoffenheim. Bild has claimed that Hoffenheim would at least want €10 million from Bayern, but in reality, Hoffenheim demands far exceed those demands.
At the press conference, Nagelsmann explained: “He isn’t my player, he belongs to the club. My job is to compensate his departure should the two clubs come to terms.” This suggests that the two clubs could be indeed close to coming to terms. For Bayern, this would mean a hefty transfer fee for a 30-year-old striker
Would Wagner Benefit From a Transfer?
The question, however, is whether Bayern and Wagner would benefit from such a transfer. For Bayern Sandro Wagner would most certainly be a perfect backup for Robert Lewandowski. A proven scorer in the Bundesliga and the national team Sandro Wagner has been in top form in recent months. Winning the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with Germany this summer Wagner showed that he could score at the highest level.
For Wagner, however, moving to Bayern could seriously harm his chances to play for Germany this summer in Russia. Currently, second in the national team forward pecking order behind Timo Werner and just ahead of Mario Gomez Wagner needs to play significant minutes to remain in contention for the World Cup squad.
At first glance, a move to Bayern could, therefore, be a bad idea. Heynckes, a former striker himself, however, could utilise Wagner. In fact, a second forward option or even the possibility to start with two strikers was one of the aspects severely lacking in Bayern’s repertoire last season and may have ultimately cost them the quarterfinal against Real Madrid. Pl
Furthermore, Heynckes is no stranger when it comes to moderating the playing time of two top-class strikers. When Bayern last won the Champions League in 2013 Heynckes had Mario Gomez and Mario Mandžukić at his disposal and by rotating the two laid the foundation for the club’s most successful season. Playing in the Champions League for Bayern and potentially winning a title or two in spring would underline Wagner’s national team ambitions. Maybe, just maybe, signing Sandro Wagner could be the key to give Bayern the edge when it comes to winning the titles in the spring.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.