Who is coming, who is going? How does the Lewandowski Theater end? And what about national player Gnabry? Even after the Mané hammer, things remain exciting at FC Bayern. It looks great at the front – and at the back?
Munich – Even after the king’s transfer with Sadio Mané, the player market and squad planning at Bayern remain exciting. The transfer summer is still long – and some imponderables are great.
“We have ideas,” replied sports director Hasan Salihamidzic with a mischievous grin at the presentation of the new Bundesliga star Mané in the Allianz Arena, which was characterized by “pride”, when he was asked about further top transfers up to the deadline on September 1st.
Who else is coming? Who else is going? What happens to Robert Lewandowski, who really wants to leave? And what about Serge Gnabry? Will a defense chief also be brought in? The Bayern squad for 2022/23 is neither complete nor finished, even if with Mané the most brilliant piece of the puzzle was added at an early stage. The plans of the Bayern bosses around Oliver Kahn are not aimed at the Bundesliga, winning the eleventh championship title in a row and upgrading Borussia Dortmund. As always, the people of Munich think bigger, European: The Champions League is the true benchmark for Bayern.
“Set stimulus points”
“We weren’t satisfied with the second half of the season,” admitted CEO Kahn. The bitter quarter-final knockout against FC Villarreal was both a blow and a wake-up call. Kahn: “We know where we need competition and where we need to set stimulus points.”
Mané is a great answer. The 30-year-old attacker from Liverpool FC wants to “score a lot of goals” in the Bayern jersey and if possible “win all the titles”. Kahn and Co. like such ambitions. And the new generation of doers in Munich knows that they have to deliver.
“Of course, the top players in the squad look at what the club does for transfers. That radiates inwards. Everyone here wants the highest possible win, the Champions League,” said Kahn: “We want to start a team that who can do it.”
At the front, Bayern appear ready for the title. Mané, Lewandowski, Gnabry, Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman, Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala – that’s great, great, great, as ex-coach Pep Guardiola would say.
Julian Nagelsmann sees it that way too. But the Bayern coach also said on the occasion of Mané’s presentation: “We’ll have to wait and see what else happens on the transfer market.” And Gnabry is a candidate for sale if he doesn’t extend his contract, which expires in 2023 – and soon. And goalscorer Lewandowski is pushing for FC Barcelona. According to “Bild” information, the Catalans are said to have sent a new offer for the world footballer of 35 million euros to Munich.
No deviation in Causa Lewandowski
Kahn and Salihamidzic do not want to deal with offers for world footballer Lewandowski (33) “at the moment”. Rather, Kahn confirmed: “As for Robert: Not much has changed. Robert still has a contract and we are happy if he joins us at the start of training. Robert has shown what he can tax.” Lots of goals.
Salihamidzic firmly believes that Lewandowski will reintegrate into the team despite the turmoil. “Yes, I’m convinced. He’s a professional and he has big goals in his career. That’s why it’s fixable,” said Salihamidzic in an interview with pay TV broadcaster Sky.
Nagelsmann was “really happy” that Mané was there. But the coach doesn’t yet know where he’ll twirl him up front. “Sadio is a player who can play four or five positions without any problems and can also switch during the game,” said Nagelsmann. Mané’s jersey number is open, which fuels speculation. The 10 that adorned his dress in Liverpool has been awarded to Leroy Sané in Munich. Maybe Mané will end up with Lewandowski’s 9 or Gnabry’s 7. Nothing seems impossible.
Mané is the third signing from Ajax Amsterdam after signing right-back Noussair Mazraoui (24/contract until 2026) and midfielder Ryan Gravenberch (20/2027). “It’s only June. We’ll keep our eyes open and see what’s still possible and what’s financially feasible,” noted Salihamidzic.
Bayern’s offensive and also the central midfield are well manned. After the Mané number in the pre-season, the focus should also be on the defense again. After the loss of David Alaba in 2021, the move from national defender Niklas Süle to Dortmund means another loss of substance. It remains to be seen whether it is enough for Benjamin Pavard to move into central defense.