Traditionally German clubs are less active than teams from the other top four leagues in the winter transfer window. That also involves Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. But with injuries at the World Cup and with Manuel Neuer out long-term, things might be different this winter for Bayern.
“As you know, I’m not a fan of the winter transfer window,” Bayern director of sport said in a recent interview with Sport Bild. “But a lot happened during the World Cup break, so I’m not ruling anything out.”
The number one priority will be a new goalkeeper. Here the decision is very much cemented between Alexander Nübel and Yann Sommer. Bayern has now informed Nübel that talks with Monaco are ongoing. The record champion will also give him full backing should they opt to bring him back over signing Sommer—that would also include an open competition with Neuer should he return from his injury.
Another question has been whether Bayern Munich will sign a new center-back after Lucas Hernández suffered a season-ending ACL injury at the World Cup. “We’re well-equipped in defense with Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, and Lucas Hernández, three top players,” Salihamdzic said. “We also have Josip Stanišić, who has to make appearances. Therefore, no signing of another center- back is planned.”
On the surface, that should end the search for a new center-back, but with Benjamin Pavard potentially leaving the club, there could be a need to sign a flexible defender this window after all. Bayern’s favorite solution is Josko Gvardiol, but RB Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl has made it clear that he will not sell the Croatian this winter or next summer, and the 2024 exit clause of €110 million ($116 million) will be to steep for the record champions.
“The [Pavard] contract situation means we would be doing things wrong if we didn’t keep a close eye on the market,” Salihamidzic said. “As always, we’re keeping our eyes wide open.” Philipp Kessler from the TZ has recently linked Bayern with a move for Olympique Lyon right-back Malo Gusto. Gusto also, at times, has helped out as a center-back and could play on the left as well and would, therefore, tick several boxes.
Furthermore, Bavaria is well-established in the French market. But Gusto will likely be a long list of players in which the record champion is interested. In general, with the club needing to add a defender, Gusto will not be the last player linked.
While Bayern is well equipped in midfield, especially once the Konrad Laimer signing is confirmed for the summer, the attack will need some work. The decision-makers, for now, are more than happy to go with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Mathys Tel into the second half of the season. But with Choupo-Moting’s contract situation unresolved and Tel still developing, do not be surprised if Bayern signs someone for the upcoming season now.
Make no mistake, the primary target for the summer of 2023 remains Harry Kane. But it is not surprising that Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani have recently been linked with moves to the Säbener Straße.
Thuram and Kolo Muani were excellent for France at the World Cup, and their respective bodies of work in the Bundesliga is also impressive. The two would, therefore, fit two essential criteria: Bundesliga proven and well-known stars for a global football power.
Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga counterpressing podcast and the Area Manager USA at transfer market. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth