FC BAYERN TRANSFERS FIRST LOT: MANÉ AND GRAVENBERCH COME, FOUR GO
The 23-year-old goalkeeper was most recently on loan at AFC Sunderland and has now joined Eintracht Braunschweig.
Hoffmann had been under contract with FC Bayern since 2015 and made 51 appearances for the FC Bayern reserves, with whom he was also third division champion in 2019/20. He no longer had any real prospects of a first team career at FC Bayern. It had been clear for a long time that he would eventually leave the club. According to information from Miasanrot, the second division level is what he is currently considered to be capable of at the Bayern Campus.
Früchtl, who was born in Lower Bavaria, joined FC Bayern in 2014. For a long time, he was considered a great goalkeeper talent, who for a while even was expected to ultimately have a notable career in the FC Bayern first team.
But after 71 appearances for the reserves and his Bundesliga debut on matchday 34 of last season, when he played instead of Manuel Neuer, his journey at FC Bayern has come to an end. Früchtl is going to join Austria Wien.
From the beginning, the expectations of him were not very conducive to his career. A loan to Nürnberg as well as the odd injury further slowed down his development. The step out of the spotlight of the German media should do him good.
Lars Lukas Mai joined Bayern coming from Dresden in 2014, where he quickly became a regular in the youth teams and later a top performer in the first team. He made 30 appearances for several DFB junior national teams and eight for the U21s in recent years.
Mai made his Bundesliga debut as an 18-year-old under Jupp Heynckes in 2018 against Hannover 96 and made a second appearance a week later against Eintracht Frankfurt. At the time, he was considered a great talent despite a clear lack of pace – not only at FC Bayern, but also in the wider scouting community. But in the years that followed, he saw no further appearances and he never quite made the leap to the pros.
In the summer of 2020, he was first loaned out to SV Darmstadt and a year later to Werder Bremen. While he was still a regular at Darmstadt and showed solid performances, he dropped out of the starting eleven at Bremen in the course of his season there. The death of his mother caused him additional problems on a private level. In this respect, it was to be expected that Bremen would not extend his contract.
The 22-year-old Mai is now moving to the Swiss club FC Lugano. Sports director Hasan Salihamidžic was at pains to sell the transfer as a hallmark of the high quality youth development at Bayern when it was announced.
“Lars Lukas joined FC Bayern at the age of 14 and is a good example of the excellent education of our youth academy,” the 45-year-old was quoted as saying by the club media: “Our aim is always to build a suitable career plan for our youth players. We have succeeded in doing that with Lars Lukas.”
At the heart of his argument, Salihamidžic has a point. The Campus cannot be judged solely by how many players ultimately break through to the FC Bayern first team. If that were the standard, there would only be one conclusion: catastrophic. A youth academy develops young people in many different ways. Above all, it is responsible for the development of a young person’s personality. Another indicator of success is how many players make it to the professional level. In this respect, May can definitely be seen as a success.
At the same time, FC Bayern played a decisive role in the fact that the central defender’s development stagnated for around two years between his debut in 2018 and his loan to Darmstadt in 2020 – for the very reason that there was no sign that the club had drawn up a clear plan for him. So Mai is both a positive and a negative example of the quality of Bayern’s youth development.
The technically highly gifted Marc Roca joined FC Bayern in 2020 at the second attempt after a earlier attempt had fallen through the year before – Espanyol Barcelona at that time reportedly demanded up to €40 million.
Offensively, he repeatedly showed his strengths in build-up play in possession of the ball. Defensively, however, he was never able to completely overcome his weaknesses without the ball. Accordingly, he never managed to establish a sustained first team presence, despite his good facilities, despite opportunities due a tight schedule and injuries of teammates.
Thus, after two years with the record champions, he has registered only 24 appearances with a total of 974 minutes. Last season he was ranked 21st, this season 22nd in the fielding statistics. Not enough for a new trial at FC Bayern next season. The fact that two coaches have come to similar conclusions regarding his first team quality independently of each other does not speak well for the player too.
At the same time, not all blame lies solely with Roca. His commitment and his will to improve were clearly visible and because of the good signs the few times he got a chance, many people still have the feeling that there is a really good player hidden in the man. For FC Bayern, however, it has clearly been not enough.
Roca is moving to Leeds United in the English Premier League. According to various media reports, FC Bayern will receive €12 million plus add-ons for the Spaniard, and thus a bit more than the €9 million Salihamidžić payed for him to Barcelona in 2020.
After Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch is the second player this year to make the move from Ajax Amsterdam to the German record champions. Several German outlets report independently that Bayern will pay a transfer fee of €18.5 million, which could rise to €24.5 million due to performance-related bonuses.
Despite his young age, the 20-year-old Gravenberch brings the experience of 102 competitive games for Ajax, for whom he has been active since the age of eight and made his Eredivisie debut at the age of 16.
Gravenberch played in central midfield at Ajax. Despite his 1.90m height, the Dutch international is agile and a capable ball handler. He is a very dynamic player who cannot be pigeonholed into any category. He certainly has the profile of a classic box-to-box player, but he can also shine in other roles.
For example, he is able to make good decisions even under pressure and to break free from pressure thanks to high technical aptitude. Especially his vertical dribblings make him stand out. He is an apt ball carrier. With his strengths, he could become a serious competitor for Leon Goretzka for a starting place in midfield and succeed Corentin Tolisso.
The step up from the Eredivisie to the Bundesliga is significant, the competition in Bayern’s midfield tough. He will initially have to give way to Joshua Kimmich’e and Leon Goretzka’s first claims in midfield. Depending on Nagelsmann’s plans and possible further transfers, Jamal Musiala, Marcel Sabitzer and Konrad Laimer could also compete with him for places in the centre. Accordingly, the expectations for his first season should not be set too high: arrive, settle, establish yourself in the first team rotation and gain as much experience as you can get should be the newcomer’s first duties during the first season.
The designated signature transfer of the summer. The Liverpool star striker, whose contract would have expired in 2023, apparently had set his sights on Bayern early on. After six years at Liverpool, he wanted to play for another top club. After intensive negotiations, FC Bayern and Liverpool agreed on a base fee of €32 million as reported by both English and German media.
Bonus payments, which are supposed to be linked to Mané’s appearances as well as to individual and team successes, can increase the transfer fee to €41 million. €6 million of that additional amount are said to be quite easy to achieve, while the remaining amount is probably linked to achievements in the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
In 269 games for Liverpool FC, Sadio Mané scored 120 goals and made 48 assists. The Senegalese played as part of a three-man forward line at Liverpool. Most of the time he played as a left winger, from where he tended to play inversely as a right-footer with a natural drive towards goal. After the once established centre-forward Roberto Firmino had played less and less lately, Mané also regularly featured in the centre of attack.
Mané is regarded as a down-to-earth model professional who supports his home country financially and through personal commitment. One of his projects in aid of his home country involved helping to build a school and a hospital. The 30-year-old led the national team to win the African Cup in 2022 and to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.
Sadio Mané’s personal adjustment should be as easy as can be. He already played for two years under Roger Schmidt in nearby Salzburg, where he picked up some German. In addition, he will have numerous French-speaking team-mates in Munich.
While other big stars like Franck Ribéry or Robert Lewandowski moved to the Bundesliga as talents, Sadio Mané might be one of the biggest names at the time of the transfer opting for the German league. With this transfer, FC Bayern is making a statement in international football.
In his current form, Mané will without question be a reinforcement at Bayern and also offer coach Julian Nagelsmann new tactical options. One of the key questions of the transfer is how long he will be able to maintain his current world-class level.
A detailed pro and con assessment will follow in the coming days.
For weeks, the 25-year-old midfielder from RB Leipzig has been traded as one of Julian Nagelsmann’s most desired transfer targets.
During the week, the transfer of Xaver Schlager from VfL Wolfsburg to RB Leipzig was announced. Schlager, like Laimer, is at home in central midfield and could already be his successor, thus paving the way for Laimer’s move to FC Bayern.
Laimer is a very strong, physical holding midfielder. He’s a type of backstop that the Bayern team has not had since Javi Martínez – but he cannot be pigeonholed either because he has sufficient passing qualities and knows how to act under pressure.
At the same time, Laimer is not a classic pace-maker as a deep-lying midfielder, such as e.g. Xabi Alonso was. Nevertheless, he could fill the defensive gaps that Kimmich and Goretzka have left on the pitch in the past.
In recent days, new rumours have surfaced about a possible interest from both Paris St Germain and Chelsea FC. However, Lewandowski’s former agent Cezary Kucharski recently told German TV channel Sport1 that both the English Premier League and Paris had never been among his favourite destinations. Has he had a change of heart? Hardly.
Lewandowski still seems to prefer a move to Barcelona (not least also due to wife’s priorities, apparently). On Thursday, the club held an extraordinary general meeting of its members, the socios. At the meeting, the members approved the sale of a share of the club’s projected TV rights and merchandise revenues. According to Sport1, the two sales could add more than €700 million to the Catalans’ tight coffers.
Barcelona urgently need the money to meet the strict requirements of the La Liga Financial Fair Play. If Barcelona manage to make the approved sales of rights to their future income by 30 June 2022, this formal hurdle would be overcome and FC Barcelona would be able to make new transfers worth millions.
A transfer of the two-time FIFA World Player has become much more likely as a result of this development as well as the Mané transfer. However, there are still some experts who do not rule out a stay. Sky Sport Germany reported that Bayern would not let Lewandowski go without a replacement and that the market for a capable centre-forward is currently difficult.
According to media reports, Sasa Kalajdzic would prefer a move to Dortmund. Other strikers of a higher quality are possibly too expensive. Planning only with Mané as Lewandowski’s replacement would be risky in view of FC Bayern’s style of play, which heavily relies on high crosses even under Julian Nagelsmann. FC Bayern can still force their top striker to stay. His contract expires at the end of next season and it does not contain an early exit clause.