The underestimated Brazzo – his transfers speak in his favor

Georg Separator November 17, 2019

The promotion

The Supervisory Board’s resolution shows foresight and cleverness. The planned appointment in July 2020 leaves a face-saving way out for the club and the people involved should Kahn and Hainer have other long-term plans. But for now, the decision ensures that Hoeneß’s departure can take place in an orderly manner. Overall, Salihamidžić’s work as a sporting director since summer 2017 seems to have been given good marks by Bayern’s supervisory board.

Miasanrot author Georg evaluates Salihamidžić’s work to date on the basis of the transfers on his watch. His work in the youth player department is not the subject of this article, nor is his rhetorical ability or his involvement in providing a successful basis for Bayern’s sports department to meet the challenges of the future. The evaluation is therefore necessarily incomplete and subjective. It is incomplete not least because much of Salihamidžić’s work takes place behind closed doors for good reasons (contract details, finances, negotiations).

Analysis of Bayern’s transfers under sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić

Below, I have evaluated all signings and exits by Bayern since Salihamidžić took office as sporting director in the summer of 2017. The evaluation is based on German school grades, ranging from “1” (outstanding) to “6” (utterly dismal). My evaluation is purely subjective, but as fact-based and comprehensible as possible. The factors making up the overall grade include age, demand, talent, and, of course, a players’ transfer fee.


(in descending order based to transfer fees according to

Lucas Hernández, €80 million. Expensive. Price range van Dijk. He has the presence and the talent to reach van Dijk’s level on the pitch too one day. If he fulfills his promise, he will be graded 1 in a few years. Not least due to injury, his performances so far could not yet justify his massive transfer fee. For now, it is enough for a 2.

Benjamin Pavard, €35 million. One of those Bundesliga transfers in which FC Bayern makes its competitive advantage in its home market felt. Ideal squad player who can play as center-back or right-back depending on the situation. He brings the qualities his role demands, the price was reasonable. Grade 2.

A typical Bayern transfer: Benjamin Pavard came from then Bundesliga rival VfB Stuttgart.
(Image: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images)

Sandro Wagner, €13 million. Solid backup. I like him as a player type. For his age and his intended squad role he was not cheap, but also not too expensive. Grade 2.

Michaël Cuisance, €12 Mio. Not only the mere 30 Bundesliga minutes he has played for Bayern so far this season clearly show that Cuisance still has a long way to go to play a serious role in the squad. Nevertheless, I consider the transfer as an absolute coup, most of all because of the course of events: When club and player started slinging mud at each other in Gladbach, Salihamidžić reacted immediately, took advantage of the unforeseen opportunity, and secured this surprise transfer overnight. This showed that Salihamidžić and his team kept an extremely close eye on the ongoing developments in the league and reacted just as quickly. Grade 1 because of the fast and silent execution of the transfer.

Alphonso Davies, €10 million. Creative transfer and a result of the global scouting efforts at Bayern. While he had already developed well and had become a viable alternative as a left-back previously, the outstanding match against Borussia Dortmund might have been his breakthrough. Now his transfer seems like a real stroke of genius by Salihamidžić. Grade 1.

Philippe Coutinho, €8.5 million loan fee. I am not a fan of the player and the transfer itself, as it seems as if he was hired as a hurried compensation for an injured Sané, but I like some of the ramifications of his signing: Coutinho’s presence strengthens Bayern’s negotiating position in the fight for Havertz, and it also gives them ample breathing space to carefully evaluate his signing. I also understand the necessity and the need of the club to send a message to the fans and markets. However, since I predominantly base my assessment of this transfer on the sporting side, it is only enough to get a grade of 3.

Ivan Perišić, €5 million loan fee. Solid squad player. Ready, willing and able when Gnabry and Coman need a break. He fills this role perfectly. Grade 2.

Fiete Arp, €3 Mio. Measured by his impressive vita as a youth international, Bayern’s commitment at such an early stage of his career is more than justified although Arp is still struggling. Even if he were not to succeed at Bayern, the club should be able to recoup the costs on a transfer away. Grade 2.

Leon Goretzka, free of charge. Peter Neururer has been raving for years about how good this boy would be. He is not wrong. To get a player like Goretzka free of charge is like hitting the jackpot. Small deduction in the B mark, since there was no need on the position (keyword opportunity costs), but nevertheless a clear 1.

ArrivalsTransfer fee
(€ Million)
Lucas Hernandez802
Benjamin Pavard352
Sandro Wagner132
Michaël Cuisance121
Alphonso Davies101
Philippe Coutinho8.5 (loan fee)3
Ivan Perišić5 (loan fee)2
Fiete Arp32
Leon GoretzkaFree1
Average Grade1.8


(in descending order based to transfer fees according to

Mats Hummels, €30.5 million. To give away perhaps the best German central defender in the year 2019 is quite unlike Bayern, especially as his destination was their biggest rivals Dortmund. It would be legitimate to criticize the transfer and give it a bad mark. I will not do this. On the contrary. Ageing players are best sold shortly before their performance starts to diminish, especially if the squad has sufficient depth on the position to replace them. And the Bayern squad does so: Süle, Hernández, Pavard, Boateng, Mai, plus the central defense pairing that played against Dortmund last weekend, Alaba and Martínez. So there are manifold alternatives to Hummels in the squad. It may hurt to see him wear the black and yellow again, but the transfer was necessary from a squad planning point of view. Hard decisions are part of the business. If such an exit did not hurt for a while, it would be a sign that the sale was too late. Grade 1 for an unpopular but correct decision. 

Renato Sanches, €20 million. He got his share of chances under different coaches, but Bayern’s midfield was too overcrowded with number eights to give him yet another one before the season. In the end it came down to selling him or Tolisso. Because of the previous performances, it was right to give him away. The transfer fee seems proper. Grade 2 because of the lingering feeling that there was always more in the man than he was able to show.

Arturo Vidal, €18 million. If a position is overstaffed, you let the old or weakest players go. Vidal is old, the midfield is crowded. So let him go. A sensible decision. Grade 2, because I believe that a slightly higher transfer fee would have been possible.

Two young players who could not assert themselves at Bayern: Juan Bernat and Renato Sanches.
(Image: Alexandra Beier/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Sebastian Rudy, €16 million. A player who needs a tailor-made environment on the field to be able to perform. He did not find such an environment at Bayern. I also never saw him as a versatile backup player. The sale was therefore the logical thing to do. Signed free of charge, sold for €16 million, the return on investment is more than decent. Grade 1.

Juan Bernat, €5 million. Bernat had to get out of the shadow of Alaba (or Hoeneß), so the transfer was inevitable. The fee, however, is much too low for a player of his talent, although one can probably not lay all the blame for this exclusively at the feet of Salihamidžić because of the circumstances. Despite the dilemma, a Bernat sale for only €5 million cannot be graded better than a 4. 

Sandro Wagner, €5 million. Lewandowski needs a backup, Lewandowski does not need a backup, Lewandowski wants a backup, Lewandowski does not want a backup … as you wish, Sir Robert! Perhaps a little premature and below value. Grade 3.

Marco Friedl, €3.5 million. Okay. Friedl would have been a good backup for Alaba before Davies recommended himself for the role, but I understand that he wanted a shot at a regular first eleven start and that there were no obstacles put in his way. The transfer fee is sufficient for a talented youth player from one’s own ranks, who would probably never have achieved his breakthrough at Bayern. Grade 2.

Adrian Fein, €1 million loan fee. His loan pays off. He is coming along so well that you want to see him next year in Bayern’s squad as an alternative in midfield. Grade 1.

Niklas Dorsch, Fabian Benko, Felix Götze, free of charge. Dorsch develops well in Heidenheim, the other two not so much. Bayern cannot promote all youth players to the first team, so some have to go. Business as usual, although I would prefer to have got a fee here and there. Grade 3.

Rafinha, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, free of charge. Their career in the limelight was almost over. Rafinha was an underestimated player throughout his career on and off the pitch. What else is there to write about Robbery? Dank je wel und merci beaucoup! No grades.

DeparturesTransfer fee
(€ Million)
Mats Hummels30.51
Renato Sanches202
Arturo Vidal182
Sebastian Rudy161
Juan Bernat164
Sandro Wagner53
Marco Friedl3.52
Adrian Fein0.25 and 0.75 (loan fee)1
Niklas Dorsch, Fabian Benko, Felix GötzeFree3
Rafinha, Franck Ribéry, Arjen RobbenFreeNone
Average Grade2.1

Bottom line

Squad planning is not everything, but without good squad planning everything else is worth little. And this is where Hasan Salihamidžić has done well so far, much better than many had expected. 

All departures under Salihamidžić as sporting director make sense and you can see the point in them. The signings were solid to good, peppered with a few lucky moves and without serious blunders so far. 

The overhaul of the squad set Bayern back by a net €67.5 million, a sum that seems almost modest in comparison to the European superclubs, especially since former top performers such as Ribéry and Robben were no longer able to generate revenues on their departure.

A further plus and what finally tips Salihamidžić’s scale over to grade 1: The squad is structured in such a way that in next summer’s transfer window Bayern is well placed to add the icing on the cake with the signings of e.g. Sané, Havertz, Nübel and Fein in order to re-establish themselves firmly among Europe’s elite.

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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