Monday, September 25, 2017

Being outspent by the competition? Should Bayern Munich be concerned?

Michelle Bonsu in Bundesliga, Editorial 12 Sep 2017

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Recently, Robert Lewandowski made waves by openly criticizing Bayern Munich’s transfer policy.

It was not the first time the Polish striker has voiced his frustration with the Bavarian titans. At the end of last season, he failed to retain his top scorer’s title, and through his ever-outspoken agent, complained about not “receiving enough support” from his teammates as he was pipped to the prize by former colleague Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.

Given that Bayern Munich has a whole bunch of ex-players who act as unofficial “ambassadors”, or those who are more than happy to share their opinions about the club whether they are even asked or not, one can be certainly assured that the Pole’s opinions did not go down well in Bavaria. He predictably was slammed for those comments, and he of course is being slammed now – all the way to the top by none other than Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Is Bayern Munich’s fiscal responsibility coming at a negative cost?

So, what was the premise of Lewandowski’s gripe this time around? As we all know, plenty of clubs across Europe spent big this summer in an attempt to bolster their squads for the upcoming campaigns. PSG were notable in their acquisitions of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, but Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, and  Chelsea all splashed the cash. Even Juventus loosened their purse strings back in 2016 to bring in Gonzalo Higuain for €90 million, and this summer AC Milan spent well over €190 million to improve their fortunes in Europe and Serie A isn’t known for its free spending approach as the Italian league simply doesn’t have the cash they once used to.

The Bundesliga, by contrast, namely Bayern, does, however. Bayern are ranked as among the richest clubs in the world, but die Roten pride themselves on their fiscally responsible approach, and they deserve to be applauded for that. Not so much in Lewandowski’s eyes, though. And perhaps, the Polish ace may have a point. Bayern Munich haven’t made a final since 2013, and have been knocked out of the Champions League since then by Spanish opposition. Despite dominating the Bundesliga, they have repeatedly come up short, and it’s quite obvious this has started to frustrate the 29-year-old, who obviously ditched Dortmund in the hope of eventually getting his hands on the Champions League and has been been thwarted season after season since.

Bayern Munich need to consider spending big on outside resources

Rummenigge and others who affiliate themselves with Bayern – namely the club’s more outspoken ex-players – feel that building around a largely home-grown, German core is the best way to go. Certainly, as based on how successful the German national team have been, they have a strong argument to bolster this belief. The recent Confederations Cup victory, which saw Joachim Low field a largely younger squad sans the services of bigger name squads, or the EURO U-21 win clearly shows that Germany is quite stocked with talent and Bayern obviously have no problems with raiding their rivals to add to their team; after all, they have done this season after season and will continue to do so.

But naturally, even Barcelona, who for years had relied heavily on their famed La Masia academy had to eventually look outside their homegrown talent in order to further enhance their squad. Just look at the money they spent to add two-thirds of their famed “MSN” attack. Luis Suarez arrived for about €82.3 million in 2014 from Liverpool, whilst about €60 million (figures will vary) was spent on Neymar the year prior to acquire the Brazilian from Santos. And the dividends it paid were astronomical – namely their Treble victory in 2015 during Luis Enrique’s debut season.

Bayern were the first German side to win a Treble in 2013, but they haven’t come anywhere near that since then. Whilst Lewandowski’s remarks were certainly out of order – after all, he’s a footballer, paid just to play and not to offer his opinions on the business dealings of his employers, they certainly are not without reason and certainly are not invalid. Obviously, no one is arguing that Bayern should just go throw €100 million at a player just for the sake of doing so, as player prices have become so grossly inflated as of late and after this summer’s transfer window, only will get worse.

However, in order to stay competitive, Bayern Munich need to be able to ensure they can attract the best players out there and to compliment stars like Lewandowski that they presently do have within their ranks. There have been some ex-players who, miffed at the Polish star’s remarks, have rather pettily remarked that he should go if he “doesn’t believe in the Bayern project”. This is rather foolish and short-sighted, especially considering his pretty strong record since moving on a free transfer only a few seasons back, and especially as Thomas Muller continues to struggle to really find himself under Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure.

Suffice it to say, Bayern Munich obviously want to re-conquer Europe, but they will need to take a long, hard look at how exactly they’re going about it. Recruitment of the right kind of personnel is going to be key, and sometimes, yes, it will require loosening the purse strings a bit more than they had initially wanted to, but as the saying goes, sometimes without taking a bit of financial risk, there can’t be much reward.

Should Bayern Munich be concerned by the big spending by competitors across Europe? Absolutely, especially if they continue to miss out on a spot in the Champions League final this season – and the next few beyond that.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Bonsu


A freelance writer and student who is as passionate about fashion as she is about football, Michelle Bonsu currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews.com, LiveSoccerTV.com, Football-Italia, Top-Soccer, LeagueLane.com, and Soccer 360 magazine. Her areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, and Ligue 1, but she has also written match previews for MLS and the Primeira Liga.

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