Neuer & Boateng out, Oblak and Werner in – the €200m revolution Bayern flops must make this summer

Comments()
Getty/Goal
The German giants were made to look small by Liverpool in the Champions League and need major changes to get back among Europe's elite

It is six years since Bayern Munich did the unthinkable. In 2012-13, they had the perfect season under Jupp Heynckes, winning the domestic double and the Champions League, beating rivals Borussia Dortmund in the European final to really put the icing on the cake.

Six years is not a long time in most avenues of life, but in football it's an eternity. However, while the rest of Europe has moved on, Germany's biggest club have remained stuck in the past.

This season was regarded as a transitionary year for Bayern, with young manager Niko Kovac replacing old master Heynckes to usher in a new era at the Allianz Arena. However, unlike most rebuilds, Kovac had to move in to the house and keep all the existing furniture.

Bayern's domestic dominance over the past decade has caused the club bosses to get over-confident, thinking Kovac could win yet another league title. They have won the Bundesliga every season since that treble season and simply expected to have the rest of Germany roll over for them once again.

As a result, no money was spent on transfers last summer, while the core squad retained eight players from that 2013 treble season: Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba, Rafinha, Javi Martinez, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller.

This week's European exit at the hands of Liverpool came as a surprise to Bayern's bosses, but a team forced to start Rafinha and Ribery in a crucial Champions League game were never unlikely to beat one of England's best teams, regardless of their pedigree and history.

The Bavarians have started buying up some talented youth players, but it was telling that Alphonso Davies was left on the bench against Liverpool, while youth sensation Woo-Yeong Jeong was there to make the numbers, having played just twice for the senior side.

CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted that signing these types of young players is the first phase of the rebuild, snapping up quality talent before their rivals. However, the decision to delay the second phase until summer 2019 means that these young players are not yet ready, while the senior players are past their prime, with no stars ready to step immediately into the starting line-up.

"We have to be quicker with the new players than our competition is," Rummenigge told kicker in December. "Our scouting department is well-built to get talent quicker than clubs in Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester, or elsewhere.

"The quality and players that we get need to align with the goals of our changes. We’ve already started this in phase one, by introducing a significant number of young players.

"The change is largely going to take place this summer. In case we need a third phase, it will occur the year after, as contracts expire. We’ll work through these changes.

"I’m not afraid of that. I’ve experienced more difficult years in 2007 and 2012. Today, the club is significantly better off financially than before."

Bayern's record signing is the €41.5 million (£36m/$47m) Corentin Tolisso but if they are to get back to the top of Europe again, they will have to smash that figure this summer.

So, who should they bring in? And who should they replace?


GOALKEEPER


Manuel Neuer Bayern Munich Augsburg Bundesliga 15022019

When it comes to discussion about the best goalkeeper of the past decade, Manuel Neuer would undoubtedly be the first name on people's lips. The German shot stopper won the World Cup, the Champions League, numerous domestic trophies and was named as the starting goalkeeper in FIFPro's World XI four years in a row.

But the 32-year-old will not be part of the conversation for the best goalkeeper of the next decade, having suffered a sharp decline following the foot injury that kept him out of almost all of the 2017-18 season.

His Bundesliga performances this season have shown how far he has fallen and the rest of Europe was made painfully aware of his regression for Liverpool's first goal in midweek, when Sadio Mane left him stranded. 

Despite being an excellent servant to Bayern, it is time for the club to move on from the player who revolutionised the sweeper-keeper role.

Teenager Christian Fruchtl could be one for the future but Bayern need a suitable replacement that can be an automatic starter. Quality goalkeepers are in demand, while there is little use in replacing him with someone over 30, such as the Bundesliga's best No.1 at the moment, Yann Sommer.

Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak is very happy at his current club, but could find his head turned by Bayern if they were to make a move. The 26-year-old has a €100m (£85m/$113m) release clause in his contract so he is there for the taking if the Bavarians are willing to spend big.


DEFENCE


Lucas Hernandez Atletico Madrid 2018-19

Germany manager Joachim Low has decided to end the international careers of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, even though both players believe they still have a lot to offer. Hummels remains the country's best centre-back and should still be considered, but Low has made the right call with Boateng.

Bayern would be wise to follow his lead on Boateng, selling him while he still has name value and can get the club a semi-decent transfer fee.

Niklas Sule is just 23, so should become a first-team regular. Hummels is also 30, but has not fallen away in the same way as Boateng and can be Sule's partner for the next couple of years as they integrate new players.

Bayern have already agreed a deal to sign France's World Cup-winning right-back Benjamin Pavard, who plays in the middle of defence for Stuttgart and will offer versatility and much better depth at full-back.

Joshua Kimmich's suspension against Liverpool saw Rafinha play instead of him, but the Brazilian is not on the same level as Kimmich and also should be moved on.

Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez was a very public transfer target in the winter, but the two clubs came to an agreement whereby Bayern would not pay his €80m (£68m/$90m) release clause and force a move. This should allow him to be bought for cheaper in the summer, providing improved options at left-back and centre-back.


MIDFIELD 


Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea 2018-19

Bayern's two most expensive players are both centre-midfielders. Javi Martinez was bought by Heynckes and immediately won them the Champions League. At 30 years old, he is the most likely midfielder to leave this summer, but has defensive abilities that none of the club's other midfielders possess.

Tolisso, meanwhile, should be back by the end of the season to compete for a space in midfield and, as long as he stays fit, should be a long-term starter for the club. Leon Goretzka is also seen as the future of Bayern as a young German talent who is popular with the fans.

Thiago has long been linked with a return to Spain and has admitted it would interest him, but is too talented to be allowed leave. However, Renato Sanches could be allowed to leave, given he has failed to live up to expectations after winning the Golden Boy award in 2016.

Kovac decided against loaning the Portuguese out in January in order to give him a chance to prove himself, but the 21-year-old has only showed glimpses of his talent and could be seen as surplus to requirements in a very crowded midfield.

Elsewhere, Bayern could elect to activate the purchase option in their loan deal with Real Madrid for James Rodriguez, if even just to have the option to sell him on at a profit. However, Kovac has used the Colombian regularly since the start of 2019, so is likely to want James to stick around.

Thomas Muller is also a key part of the team and has proven he can work alongside Rodriguez, rather than just as an either/or option. Kai Havertz has been linked with a move to Munich as Germany's brightest young star, but could be an option for 2020 rather than 2019.

Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are both leaving the club at the end of the season. In their prime, they were Europe's best wing duo. Now, they are afterthoughts. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have already proved to be better options than them out wide, while Alphonso Davies has had a taste of the Bundesliga after moving from Major League Soccer.

Bayern still need another winger to ensure they have enough depth to compete in Europe as well as in Germany and are likely to return for Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Blues refused his transfer request in January and could even do so again in the summer due to their transfer ban.

If Hudson-Odoi is unavailable, Lille's Nicolas Pepe is under consideration. The Ivory Coast international's club boss has even admitted he can see Pepe in a red jersey in the Champions League and hinted that he could step in to the Robben or Ribery roles.


ATTACK


Timo Werner RB Leipzig

Every summer Robert Lewandowski has been tipped to join Real Madrid and every summer he has stayed with Bayern Munich. With his star having fallen recently, that rumour might not return in 2019 as Zinedine Zidane looks to perform his own rebuild in Spain.

Still, even though the Polish striker has now admitted he would like to end his career in Munich, the club need to think about replacing him in the long term.

Article continues below

Jann Fiete Arp has been signed from Hamburg, but is years away from being a Bayern-calibre player. Lewandowski is 31 this year and is being asked to play every game as there is nobody in the squad to replace him following the sale of Sandro Wagner to China.

Timo Werner is a different type of forward to Lewandowski, usually playing alongside targetman Yussuf Poulsen at RB Leipzig, but would have better supply in Munich and could even be a partner for Lewandowski for the next few seasons.

The 23-year-old has refused to sign a new deal in Leipzig and Ralf Rangnick has insisted he will be sold this summer if there is no new contract in place by then. Werner's asking price would usually be large but given he is entering the final year of his contract, Bayern can pressure Leipzig to offload him for a knockdown price for fear losing him for nothing in 2020.

Close