AEven after the king’s transfer with Sadio Mané, the player market and squad planning at FC Bayern remain exciting. The transfer summer is still long – and some imponderables are great. “We’ve got 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 asked about further top transfers until the so-called “deadline day” on September 1st became.
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 early on. 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.
Low blow and wake-up call for FC Bayern
“We weren’t satisfied with the second half of the season,” admitted CEO Kahn. The bitter knockout in the quarter-finals against FC Villarreal was a blow and a wake-up call at the same time. 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 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 former coach Pep Guardiola would say.
Nagelsmann: “Wait and see what else happens”
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.” Scorer Lewandowski is pushing for FC Barcelona. And Gnabry is a candidate for sale if he doesn’t renew his contract, which expires in 2023 – and soon.
Kahn and Salihamidzic do not want to deal with offers for world footballer Lewandowski (33) “at the moment”. Rather, Kahn affirmed: “As far as Robert is concerned, not much has changed. Robert still has a contract and we’re happy when he joins us at the start of training. Robert showed what he can tax.” Lots of goals.
Nagelsmann was “really happy” on Wednesday 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. Whether it is enough for Benjamin Pavard to move into central defense remains to be seen.