From The Sidelines: Top priorities for Bayern in January
From The Sidelines
(Maximum Sports Channels – PDL) With Pep Guardiola’s future at Bayern Munich now known, focus is beginning to switch back to on-field matters and in ensuring this squad is ready to continue to progress despite the departure of their head coach at the end of the season. While there is no immediate need for the Bundesliga champions to spend millions in signing high-profile players, money does need spending on agreeing long-term deals with a number of crucial members of this team.
In previous years, the club have often waited until the last moment before offering new contracts to their best players – something blamed for the recent departures of Toni Kroos to Real Madrid and Bastian Schweinsteiger to Manchester United. Rather than risk a repeat, Bayern really need to use January to tie down Mario Gotze and Kingsley Coman – two players who have been key to the club’s success this season and are instrumental to the long-term future of this side.
When this article was produced, Bayern were at odds of 1/50 with the Bundesliga betting to retain their title, so there is clearly no immediate need to add any new players to this squad. But the club need to be looking at beyond this season, and that means entering contract talks with players.
While Gotze might not have quite fulfilled the potential he showed during his time with Borussia Dortmund, he’s a player who is in-demand and one who would be snapped up if Bayern don’t agree a new deal with him. At 23 years old, the midfielder is entering his prime and there have been glimpses of a world-class player over the past couple of seasons. The question now is whether he can convince the club to offer Germany’s World Cup hero a contract that reflects his importance to this team.
Coman is in a different position in that he is still only on loan at the Allianz Arena from Juventus. The Frenchman has admitted he is keen to make his move to Bayern a permanent one, and it would be a strange move for the Bundesliga champions to not take the chance to sign one of European football’s most exciting young strikers. While Coman has only scored four goals during his time in Germany, he has shown just why he is rated so highly, and there is little doubt the 19-year-old has a bright future in the game.
Aside from that, decisions need to be made regarding the long-term futures of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. While neither player is getting any younger, the duo are still crucial members of this team and players who would be snapped up should either be allowed to leave the club. The problem for Robben has been his growing fitness concerns. But when he is fit, there are still few players as good as the Dutchman on his day. Injuries have played an even bigger role in Ribery’s recent career. Restricted to just 15 league appearances last season, the 32-year-old has managed just one appearance this season, and his ongoing injury problems could be the deciding factor in Bayern handing the Frenchman a new deal.
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