Bayern Munich could be seen actively participating in the upcoming winter transfer window. Despite having problems at the back, Louis Van Gaal refused to sign any new players to strengthen the squad at the start of the season. Injuries continued to haunt the Bavarian outfit, as they had to make do without ace wingers Ribery and Robben for a significant part of the first half of the season, just like last season. But regression of certain players like Demichelis, Van Buyten, Contento and Van Bommel has left Bayern riling in the mid-table, 14 points adrift from Bundesliga summit before going to the winter break.
Though Van Gaal has the backing of the club hierarchy, recent rumors of dressing room bust up with players like Demichelis, Braafheid and Van Buyten does indicate that all is not well at the moment in the Die Roten camp. The few highs of the season for the fans have been the contract extension of Lahm and Schweinsteiger, goal scoring form of Mario Gomez and respected German sports magazine Kicker’s honouring of Schweinsteiger as the German Footballer Of the year. Injury-ravaged Bayern are in need of fresh faces in the side to keep their title hopes alive. Let us have a look at the players Bayern Munich might be interested in acquiring the services of, that is to say if Van Gaal feels that the squad needs reinforcement.
Veteran keeper Butt has been brilliant as ever for Bayern in this term. The 36 year old German international has stated that he’ll decide on his future after the end of the season. Youngster Thomas Kraft has been promising so far, with a couple of Champions League appearances but he needs more time to mature as a player. With Butt on the verge of retirement and without a proper backup to fill his boots, Bayern might have to look for a new keeper.
The German number one Manuel Neuer has been linked with the Bavarian giants on a regular basis in the past. Though youngster Thomas Kraft has shown promise to take over from veteran Butt, Bayern hierarchy appears to be interested in acquiring Neuer’s services. The desperation shown by Schalke coach Felix Magath to keep hold on to his prized asset more or less rules out the possibility of this move for this transfer window. But with Butt considering his future after spring, it is highly likely that Neuer will accept the offer from Bayern in the summer transfer window, next year.
THT Verdict: Slim
Defense has been the most problematic area for the Bavarian outfit. Left back and Centre half have been under scanner in particular. Injury to Badstuber made it tougher for Bayern to survive with the current crop of players who established themselves to be not as good to represent Bayern in recent past. Such has been the crisis for Bayern defensively that Van Gaal had to play Tymoshchuk, a holding midfielder, at centre half and Daniel Pranjic, a left winger and a holding midfielder, in left back. Both Demichelis and Van Buyten, Van Gaal’s first choice centre halves, had a season to forget. Badstuber has been able to establish himself in the heart of defense with a number of sidereal performances but he was missing an able defender to partner him. Rise of Tymoshchuk as a central defender and Breno’s comeback from injury has given Bayern some stability at the back. Though Tymoshchuk has played well as a centre half, he is not happy with the fact that he has been made to play out of position. The decision of letting Mats Hummels leave for Borussia Dortmund still hurts the team and the fans alike.
Edson Braafheid, who was sent on loan in the last season to Celtic to gather first team experiece, has failed to outperform Bayern’s 2nd choice left back Daniel Pranjic. Following a bust up with Van Gaal he is expected to leave the German club in January.
THT Verdict: High
Out of favor defender Van Buyten is also likely to leave Bayern. The Belgian is already behind Breno, Badstuber and Tymoshchuk in the pecking order and does not see his future in Bayern anymore. Last week Van Buyten’s proposed transfer to Hamburg fell through because of the Belgian’s wage demands.But in all probabilities, the club will look for possible buyers to rid them off Van Buyten.
THT Verdict: High
Diego Contento could be on his way out to Koeln, the team that had a dreadful first half in the campaign and has conceded 30 goals in 16 games already or Lazio on loan for the second half of the season, to gain more first team action.
THT Verdict: Slim (as Bayern does not have much depth in left back.)
In order to strenghthen the weakest link in defense, Bayern Munich has been heavily linked with Everton’s fullback Leighton Baines throughout this month. Finally it appears that Baines’ recent statement has poured cold water on Bayern’s plans, “I have just signed a new contract and I tied myself to the club in the summer and I have no intentions at the moment of leaving the club.I am not looking elsewhere and I am completely focused on what I am doing here and I have only just committed myself to the club.”
THT Verdict: Slim
The club has been linked with fullbacks Coentrao, Bosingwa and Van Der Wiel in the past. If Bayern fail to lure Baines to Munich, they might rekindle their interest in signing any of these three players, in order to cure the ailing fullback issue.
Martin Demichelis is set to join Malaga on loan for the next half of the season, after spending the last seven years of his career in Bayern. Malaga will have the option to make the move permanent, provided they do not get relegated.
Injuries to Ribery and Robben, at the beginning of the season, marred the initial stages of the season for Bayern. Medical woes continued as Bayern were soon left without Van Bommel and then Schweinsteiger. Crisis was severe as Bayern were left with Kroos, Muller and Altintop to share first team duties. Youngster Ottl, first team rejects Tymoshchuk and Pranjic were left to serve as backups to the first teamers. With Mueller far from his usual self and Kroos still in the process of getting accustomed to a holding midfielder’s role, the performances from the rejects Tymoshchuk and Pranjic helped Bayern to steady the ship. Both of them were made to play in the midfield as well as in defense. Tymoshchuk has already scored 4 goals in all competitions this season and ‘Assist King’ Pranjic has set up five goals in 14 Bundesliga games. Return of Schweinsteiger and Ribery and recent surge of form from Muller has helped Bayern get over the depression to some extent but they still look vulnerable in the midfield.
Niggling Injuries and recent dip in form questioned Van Bommel’s qualification to remain with club for some time now. Immediately the dutch enforcer was linked with Premier League rivals Manchester City and Tottenham, besides interests from Wolfsburg.
Van Bommel has maintained that he wishes to respect his contract with the Bavarians and his belief has been echoed by the Bayern Munich boss, Karl-Heinze Rummenigge, “I don’t think Mark will leave in the winter,”.
THT Verdict: Slim
Hamit Altintop has struggled to secure first team football since his arrival from Schalke in 2007. Turkish outfits Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are both interested to have his services. Galatasaray are looking to replace disappointing summer signing Misimovic with experienced midfielder Altintop. Fenerbahce, who stands fifth in Turlish League, look to reinforce their midifield to put their quest for domestic league glory back on track. But with the news from the medical table not being great of late, Bayern would probably like to hold on to the midfielder till the next summer.
THT Verdict: Slim for the winter window.
Bayern officials were also interested to sign Chelsea starlet Gael Kakuta to strenghthen their midfield. Chelsea acted quickly by extending his contract to warn off Bayern.
To keep injury woes at bay, Bayern are set to bolster their midfield with Hoffenheim’s Luis Gustavo. Gustavo is a holding midfielder and could partner Schweinsteiger in Bayern’s midfield. Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp has already confessed that their side is likely to lose Gustavo to Bayern.
THT Verdict: High
With injuries to Klose and Olic, Mario Gomez was left with the responsibility of leading Bayern in attack. Olic has not played a single game this season and Klose has been nothing short of disappointing, having failed to score a single goal in 7 Bundesliga appearances. Bayern was at Gomez’s mercy and that showed in the results as well. There was a spell when Bayern failed to score a single goal in four straight games. Gomez remained highly inconsistent throughout the season despite completing three hattricks in all competitions. He has scored 19 goals in this season already. Only if one has had the misfortunes of witnessing the chances that he has squandered thus far, would one understand as to why Van Gaal has such less faith on the German international. Good news is that Klose is back from injury and has scored a brace in the victory against Stuttgart in the DFB Pokal clash.
Rumours were ripe that Klose is keen for a move to Lazio. However, Lazio owner Claudio Lotito has denied that they are in talks with Klose regarding any future deal. With the kind of form Bayern frontline is in, Bayern will never approve this transfer to happen, unless and until they find a suitable replacement for Klose.
THT Verdict: Not Happening.
Bayern Munich has been linked with a shock move for Arsenal hitman Robin Van Persie in a deal worth £25.5 million. Such stories do sell well, but Arsenal does not seem interested to let go off their prized attacker, that too at such a crucial juncture of the season. To be honest Bayern must keep hold of Klose and try to find the right combination to play both Klose and Gomez ina system and concentrate more on repairing the defensive woes.
THT Verdict: Not Happening