Bayern won't splash out for big squad revamp

Bayern defender Mats Hummels pouring beer over departing veteran midfielder Arjen Robben after the team thumped Frankfurt at home to win the title on Saturday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Bayern defender Mats Hummels pouring beer over departing veteran midfielder Arjen Robben after the team thumped Frankfurt at home to win the title on Saturday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MUNICH • Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness had called their summer transfer window "the biggest investment programme in our history" after splashing out a combined €115 million (S$177.1 million) for France defenders Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.

But, after sealing their seventh successive German Bundesliga title and their 29th overall with a 5-1 home thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, he declared that the club were not planning to break their transfer record again.

The Bavarian giants had been expected to surpass the club-record €80 million fee paid to Atletico Madrid for Hernandez as they set about a major squad overhaul ahead of next season, with veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben leaving in the close season on free transfers.

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt and Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel have been linked to the club in recent months.

However, Hoeness is not prepared to make any more big-money moves as "we are not playing monopoly here".

The former West Germany forward said: "We are a football club. We have reached the 80 million mark, and I don't think we will go beyond that."

There will still be new faces, though, just not on the scale of the Hernandez and Pavard transfers, with Hoeness promising to "certainly not stop making changes to our team and will continue with the overhaul".

Chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has set his sights on a new winger, telling German daily Bild "we need another good alternative beside Alphonso Davies because we are losing Robben and Ribery".

Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi remains on the club's radar, having made four unsuccessful bids for the 18-year-old in the January transfer window, and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic will be "active again" after this weekend's German Cup final.

Having secured the title, Bayern hope to complete a fifth domestic double since 2010 when they face RB Leipzig on Saturday but, regardless of the result, coach Niko Kovac feels his job is safe despite having come under pressure this season.

After being drenched in wheat beer during Bayern's customary title celebrations, he told Sky Sports: "I'm convinced that I will continue. I am working on the assumption that I will fulfil the remaining two years of my contract.

"It has been an exhausting year, you can probably see that in my beard and my hair."

Reports last week suggested the Croat would be shown the door even if he won the double.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2019, with the headline 'Bayern won't splash out for big squad revamp'. Print Edition | Subscribe