Manuel Veth –
Alexis Sánchez has become the symbol of a new Bayern München transfer strategy. The club’s biggest transfer up to date is Javi Martínez, who was signed for €40 million from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2012. Other than that Bayern were hugely absent when it came to big summer transfers and even last summer’s purchases of Mats Hummels, for €35 million from Dortmund, and Renato Sanches, for €35 million from Benfica, were peanuts in comparison to Paul Pogba’s €100 million transfer from Juventus to Manchester United.
At the same time, Bayern München have been consistently among Europe’s top four without making a major splash on the transfer market. But the quarterfinal elimination by Real Madrid and the tendency by major clubs to have a deep bench, especially up front, has meant that the decision makers, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and President Uli Hoeneß, are reconsidering the club’s transfer policy.
From now on the German giant no longer wants to be displayed as a club that shies away from mega transfers and as the Futbolgrad Network reported in February, the club will gear up for at least one mega transfer this summer. The interest in Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal especially highlights this. The 28-year-old Chilean attacking midfielder is asking for a contract worth €25 million a year and despite the fact that he only has one year to go on his contract at Arsenal will likely cost in the region of €80 million.
Alexis Sánchez will Cost Bayern €180 Million
Alexis Sánchez would, therefore, cost Bayern €180 million over four years. Bayern could afford such a transfer without having to worry too much about financial implications. The club owns its stadium and despite receiving less television money than the last placed team in the English Premier League. Nonetheless, Bayern are considered one of the richest clubs in Europe thanks to its strategic partners and careful financial planning over the last 30 or so years, which has made the club the richest in the world terms of financial savings generated.
There is also no doubt that Bayern need players like Alexis Sánchez to compensate the departures of several star players. Captain Philipp Lahm, as well as midfielder Xabi Alonso, have already retired this season, and Frank Ribéry and Arjen Robben are both in the twilight of their stellar careers.
In the past, Bayern München hoped that they could compensate squad departures by buying the best players from Bundesliga competition or by unearthing relatively unknown talent from abroad. But the recent purchases of Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa showed that this strategy does not necessarily work. Coman is not yet at the level that he can display world class on a consistent level and Bayern’s officials do not believe that Douglas Costa has understood the magnitude of having to wear a Bayern shirt.
Hence, Douglas Costa and the talented Renato Sanches, who has struggled to integrate himself in the Bayern squad, could be sold this summer to generate income. Income will be especially necessary, as Bayern München believes in creating a balanced budget every season. But whether the two will produce the kind of money Bayern need to rebuild their squad remains doubtful. Hence, Bayern may have also to sell one of their big stars.
Bayern may Have to Sell a Star to Make the Transfer Work
Bayern are reluctant to sell the likes of Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer or Robert Lewandowski especially as they believe that they need to strengthen their attacking line rather than weakening it. But Jérôme Boateng has recently voiced his discontent with the situation at Bayern. The defender believes that he is not valued high enough by Bayern’s management and also fears that his playing numbers will be diminished with the arrival of the highly talented Niklas Süle.
Chelsea seem interested in bringing Boateng, who is still considered one of the best defenders on the planet on board. Given the ridiculous sums that are paid on the English transfer market selling, Boateng would generate the kind of funds that Bayern need to land top stars like Alexis Sánchez and Romelu Lukaku.
One thing seems certain Bayern will have to change their transfer strategy if they want to compete for the Champions League title. The likes of Juventus and Real Madrid have dominated European football this season by having deep squads on the attacking end of the pitch. The lack of attacking options has been Bayern’s biggest weakness as the injury to Robert Lewandowski demonstrated in the quarterfinal against Real Madrid, and Bayern’s management is adamant that they will make the necessary adjustments this summer.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of 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.