Manuel Veth –
FC Bayern München are on the verge of signing 26-year-old Sebastian Rudy, and 21-year-old Niklas Süle from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. In many ways, the transfers would mark a return to the old way of doing business for the Bavarian giants.
While traditionally Bayern München have a history of bringing in players from their Bundesliga rivals, die Roten have been more international in their transfer outlook since Pep Guardiola signed for the club in 2013, and the latter policy has somewhat continued in the first transfer window under Italian head coach Carlo Ancelotti.
There was fear that Bayern could lose its identity
Under Guardiola, Bayern signed Thiago (Barcelona), Medhi Benatia (Roma), Juan Bernat (Valencia CF), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Douglas Costa (Shakhtar Donetsk), and Kingsley Coman (Juventus)—and then under Ancelotti signed Renato Sanches this summer.
There was even talk that Bayern München was losing a big part of their identity, as the club traditionally has formed the backbone of the German national team by supplying die Nationalmannschaft with up to seven to eight players at one time.
But then the departure of Toni Kroos in the summer of 2014, and the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger in the summer of 2015, meant that the starting eleven of the Bavarians increasingly looked like an international all-star team rather than a team formed primarily of German national team players. Furthermore, the possible retirement of 33-year-old Philipp Lahm at the end of the season would further diminish the German camp at the club.
With this in mind, the signing of both Rudy and Sülke makes sense, simply to strengthen the German camp in the side. But Rudy, especially, could replace both Xabi Alonso at the centre of the park and, even more importantly, could play as a right-back, which makes it possible that Rudy could be brought in to replace Lahm.
Both Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Süle make business sense for Bayern
The 20-year-old Süle, his transfer fee is to be rumoured to be around €25 million, meanwhile, will face strong competition from the likes of Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels, Javi Martínez, and Holger Badstuber on the centre-back position. There has been concern, therefore, that Süle could lack match time after completing a move to the Bavarian capital.
At the same time, however, Boateng, Martínez, and Badstuber are known to be injury prone. In fact, both Boateng and Badstuber are out with injuries at the moment, which leaves just Martínez and Hummels at back. Hummels is also currently struggling with a stomach flu, which means that he might miss the midweek top game against RB Leipzig potentially leaving Bayern with just one learned centre back in one of the most important games in recent history.
In other words, Bayern going after Niklas Süle makes business sense for Bayern, as they need to bolster their backline in order to be competitive in the DFB-Cup, the Champions League, and the Bundesliga.
For Bayern to focus on German national team players once again can be directly linked with the return of Uli Hoeneß as the club’s president. Hoeneß has always been adamant that the core of Bayern’s team should consist of national team players. Hoeneß was jailed for tax evasion in June 2014, and as a result had to step down from all his positions at Bayern.
Hoeneß is back in charge
Hoeneß was released from jail in February 2016, and in August 2016 he announced that he would once again run for president of the club. Then in November 2016, he was elected as the president of the club, with a politburesque 98.5% of the vote.
With Hoeneß back as the strong man of the club, Bayern seem to be walking away somewhat from the internationalization that took place when the club’s CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, was running the club as a one man show during Hoeneß’ jail time.
Now with the influential Hoeneß back at the club—other than becoming president of Bayern’s membership association, which sits at the core of the club, Hoeneß will also take up a seat on the Bayern München chair company that operates the football team—it will be interesting to see how Bayern München will build its squad for the future.
Bayern need to get younger, and form the backbone of die Nationalmannschaft once again
As discussed in the latest Gegenpressing – Bundesliga Spieltag Spezial Podcast Bayern need to get younger, and bringing players like Rudy and Süle will help with that. But Bayern will have to also do this without forgetting their identity, something that always seemed dear to Uli Hoeneß, who once stated, “The core of the national team needs to play at Bayern”.
This would explain why, in addition to the already far advanced talks of bringing in Süle and Rudy, Bayern have also expressed interest in signing Julian Draxler from VfL Wolfsburg, who could replace the aging Frank Ribéry or Arjen Robben on the wings.
Furthermore, Hoeneß recently expressed that he was a great fan of Ralph Hasenhüttl’s work at RB Leipzig, and that he could see the coach take over at Bayern München at some point—which would see the club return to German management for the first time since Jupp Heynckes left the club in 2013. Hence, with Hoeneß back at the helm, it appears that Bayern are going back to the future by focusing once again on German talents rather than just international superstars.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, writer for Bundesliga.com, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.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 @homosovieticus.