With minutes to go until the transfer window was closed, Bayern have once again become active on the transfer market and loaned the former German international Serdar Tasci from Spartak Moscow. This deal was a late decision as a response to the recent injuries of Jerome Boateng and Javi Martínez.
They had spent days discussing the possibilities of a potential center back signing internally. With the injury of Martínez came the decision to become active again. Tasci is an investment in the depth of the squad and also a deal without any risk, as the reported loan fee is exaggerated. The German-Turk arrives for four months on a loan deal including a traditional option to turn it into a permanent contract.
Tasci is only 28 years old, which might come as a bit of a surprise considering that he already was one of the best center backs in the Bundesliga 6-7 years ago. He was an integral part of the title-winning Stuttgart team in 2007 and caught people’s attention especially with his skills in the buildup game. What’s a standard at the center-back position today was something special at that time – three years after Thomas Linke had completed his last international game for Germany. Joachim Löw appreciated these qualities as well and invited Tasci to the squad for the 2010 World Cup.
Solid depth player
After Tasci had moved to Moscow in 2013, he kind of disappeared from the public eye. That being said, he has always been a regular in relatively mediocre Russian team that hasn’t won a title since 2001.
Tasci is a rock-solid central defender but it’s his buildup game that stands out. In the current season, Tasci has played the third-most passes of his team (according to whoscored.com) and has a passing accuracy of over 87% – the highest value in the squad. Tasci offers good anticipation skills but doesn’t always act fast enough. His heading abilities are decent too, although not outstanding. The 28-year-old, who was the team captain in Stuttgart, is regarded as a good character and team player.
At this point, Tasci is a rotation player who guarantees that other players can take breaks. There are concerns over the health and fitness of Holger Badstuber with the high workload of the upcoming weeks in mind. Those doubts aren’t caused by his qualities but due to his injury history and the possibility of another injury. Other options with Kimmich, Alaba or Vidal in the center are being considered but not settled. Guardiola will have to be creative in the upcoming weeks, one way or another.
In Tasci, he has received another option to give Badstuber the much needed breaks.
The fact that the Russian league has been on a winter break since the beginning of December certainly doesn’t make things perfect. Tasci however pointed out during his presentation in Munich that he has just returned from a training camp with Spartak. So the fitness shouldn’t be a big issue. Adapting to the squad and the system on the other hand might be.
First-class options not available
Overall, the transfer can’t be evaluated without taking a look at the international transfer market situation. When Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said a few days ago that January is not a good time to add a good player, then that’s not necessarily a contradiction to the Tasci signing. Other, bigger names like Laporte or Stones are simply not possible for Bayern in the current situation without drifting into fantasy figures. The expectations have changed at Bayern. The club’s financial resources struggle to keep up and the English market in particular is so overheated that Bayern would have to make a record-breaking signing in order to find an adequate replacement. And that’s just if a club would even sell a key player in the middle of a season. The real transfer business is not like a fantasy manager game – the same goes for Bayern.
Tasci apparently wanted to return to the Bundesliga and had previously agreed on joining Schalke (that transfer failed due to loan deal issues). In the four months in Munich, he will have the chance to prove that he can be a reliable option as third or fourth center-back for Bayern or at least try to impress another German club. For Bayern, it’s a risk-free loan deal without any long-term commitments. The club will get to examine exactly if Tasci can meet the high demands of the Rekordmeister and react accordingly.
Will Serdar Tasci make a difference in a Champions League semi-final? Probably not. Is he better than Dante or Kirchhoff, the most recent providers of depth? Probably yes. Can Guardiola rely on Tasci in games against Augsburg, Ingolstadt, Frankfurt or Cologne without big worries? Most certainly. That and not much else is what the transfer is about right now.