Given the departure of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, coupled with Borussia Dortmund’s recent fruitful business, it is imperative that Bayern Munich rebuild effectively this summer
Despite Bayern Munich recently clinching the domestic double, there is a tangible air of dissatisfaction surrounding the Bavarian club, and especially around manager Niko Kovač. With critics suggesting that he has no clear managing philosophy apparent, the Bayern hierarchy must quickly make a decision on whether he is the right man to lead and build a new dynasty at the club. This decision is further heightened by the amount of rebuilding that needs to happen in the summer.
With the departure of the legendary Bayern duo Robben and Ribery this summer, large investment is paramount, especially given how close the recent title race was. The impact that the two wingers had in Munich over the last decade was colossal, and led to years of trophies and success. In spite of winning a seventh successive Bundesliga, Bayern’s performances in Europe have been far from impressive in recent years – as they have failed to make a final since they won the competition in 2013. This is something Kovač desperately needs to improve on next season should he stay.
The gap is closing
This was Bayern’s least convincing title victory since regaining it in 2012/13, as Dortmund bridged the 29 point gap from last season, to just two this season. This was a hugely impressive season from Dortmund, who will be frustrated that they didn’t win the title, having led for the majority of the season. Furthermore, with them having replaced Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic with the astute signings of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard, combined with the rapidly improving and spectacular Jadon Sancho, Dortmund are looking once again to be serious title challengers.
Developing the current crop
With Robben and Ribery leaving the club, it is certainly an opportunity for current wingers Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry to cement their places into this all-changing Bayern squad. Both had solid, yet unspectacular seasons in 2018/19 – with both failing to make a real impact in Europe. If they are given regular playing time and responsibility, perhaps they can truly realise their potential. Moreover it is time to integrate Canadian winger Alphonso Davies fully into the first team, with the promising young winger showing glimpses of his promise towards the tail-end of last season. The squad depth is also going to be improved, with World Cup winning versatile French defender Benjamin Pavard having already agreed to join the club this summer, as has Lucas Hernandez.
Another important player to integrate fully is Portuguese centre-midfielder Renato Sanches. Despite ensuing a disastrous loan spell in South Wales with Swansea in 17/18, last season he began to show signs of why Bayern forked out so much money for him, and being only 21 he has more than enough promise and time to become established with the Bundesliga outfit.
How do Bayern rebuild? Who should they sign?
It’s no secret that Bayern Munich are playing catch-up with Europe’s elite teams in terms of statement signings, and this is considered a significant factor in their recent failures in Europe. It is imperative that they spend big on multiple positions this summer, in order to lay the foundations for a side capable of competing with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus.
One obvious signing that they should make (and one they’ve been heavily linked with) is Manchester City winger Leroy Sané. The German is one of the best wingers in the world; and despite his unbelievable productivity and influence, his minutes dropped under Man City manager Pep Guardiola last season. This could be as a result of his temperament or lack of defensive duties, but if he’s available, Bayern should pay whatever it takes to get him. His dynamism and trickery would galvanise the team, taking it to the next level and improving those around him. Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß is clearly an advocate of this signing as when asked about him, he replied: “Yes, we are negotiating with this player”.
Another fantastic signing that would transform Bayern is RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner. The scintillating German can play anywhere across the attacking three, and would be a fantastic long term replacement for Robert Lewandowski. Having said this, the Polish goal-machine is showing no signs of slowing down after another golden boot, and Bayern aren’t short in the goals department. Despite this, a backup striker would be a solid investment given Sandro Wagner’s departure in January. This would provide Lewandowski with some important rest in less important fixtures, especially as he’s getting older.
Finally, with Jerome Boateng being told by club president Hoeneß that “as a friend, I would advise him to find himself a new club,” Bayern need a young, ball-playing replacement. A big signing would increase competition for places with the already excellent Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle, and would allow for adequate rotations in cup competitions and any potential injuries. There are strong rumours that Bayern want the highly rated Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso, who would make an excellent addition, with his ball-playing ability a notable forte that can enhance Bayern’s defence and transitional play.
By Alex Pierce.