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What Bayern Munich need in the January transfer window

00:00 GMT+3 31/12/2019
Leroy Sane Bayern Munich Composite
The Bavarians are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and will look to strengthen in January to ensure they defend their Bundesliga title

Bayern Munich may have won seven Bundesliga titles in a row but they are presently struggling to maintain their domestic dominance.

The Bavarians recorded the best-ever group stage performance in the Champions League, with a perfect record of 18 points from six games, to set up a last-16 clash with Chelsea, but have found it difficult to maintain the same level of consistency in Germany.

As a result, Bayern have gone into the winter break third in the Bundesliga standings, four points behind co-leaders RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Hans-Dieter Flick's side will now have some welcome time off over the festive period before attending a training camp in Doha from January 4-10.

However, with the winter window set to open this week, the interim boss will undoubtedly be keen to see his squad strengthened before the second half of their season gets under way on January 19.

Bayern's likely January transfer signings

In 2019, Bayern brought in World Cup-winning defenders Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, but missed out on a key attacking signing after the public pursuits of Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi and then Leroy Sane of Manchester City ended in disappointment.

Chelsea refused to sell Hudson-Odoi in January and then he signed a new deal with the London club, ending Bayern's interest in the 19-year-old winger. As a result, they turned their attentions to Germany international Sane and looked set to bring him to Munich before the summer transfer window closed.

However, an ACL injury in the Community Shield ruled Sane out for the first half of the season, ruining the chance of an August move to the Allianz Arena for the former Schalke attacker.

However, Sane was treated by Germany and Bayern Munich doctor Christian Fink rather than City's specialist Dr Ramon Cugat, ensuring that speculation over a transfer continued.

With the 23-year-old returning to light training, he could be back in action by the time the Champions League knockout stage comes around in February and Bayern are ready to re-ignite their interest.

A January move is now on the cards for Sane, whose contract is set to expire in 2021. City's asking price for him was £135 million ($176m) back in August but, with his contract winding down, the Premier League champions may now be willing to sell for a lower price.

Bayern have also been linked with other attacking players, including Shakhtar Donetsk's Tete and Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos, but Sane remains the priority.

Bayern's likely January transfer exits

Jerome Boateng has repeatedly been linked with a move away from Munich, even meeting with Paris Saint-Germain last summer, but the defender continues to get game time.

With Niklas Sule sidelined until the end of the season and in jeopardy of missing Euro 2020, Bayern have been forced to be creative in defence. David Alaba has been pushed into the centre, with Alphonso Davies slotting in at left-back.

Happily, Davies has impressed in a more defensive role, giving Flick an extra option in defence. Consequently, with Hernandez hoping to be back by the end of January, Boateng could be allowed to finally leave.

Boateng is not guaranteed starts and, having turned 31 this season, he is looking for a club where he has more chance of regular football.

Thomas Muller admitted he could consider leaving Germany while Niko Kovac was still in charge of Bayern, but has been a much more important player since Flick succeeded the Croat at the helm in November and rumours of an exit have, thus, died down.

How Bayern could line up after the transfer window

Sane would compete with Kingsley Coman and Ivan Perisic for a spot in the Bayern Munich XI, but Perisic has been a squad player under both Kovac and Flick, while Coman is very injury-prone and cannot be relied upon to be fit week in, week out.

As a result, Coman is likely to become a rotation option when Sane arrives in Munich, offering an alternative on either flank.

Flick's strongest XI will see Sane line up on the left with Serge Gnabry on the right in support of Robert Lewandowski, with Philippe Coutinho and Muller competing for the No.10 role.

Retaining Boateng would give greater depth in defence but if he does leave, Joshua Kimmich could return to right-back from midfield, with Benjamin Pavard pushed into the centre of defence.