The MSR advent calendar: our favorite signings that never happened: Door 12 – George Weah
George … who? George Weah was a complete, traditional center-forward. Bayern were to experience his ball control and dribbling skills first hand in the 1994 Champions League when he scored a wonder goal for PSG at the Olympic Stadium. He combined and dribbled his way through half of the Bayern team before giving Oliver Kahn no chance with a well-placed shot into the near corner.
His goal against Verona was also legendary, when he intercepted the ball in his own penalty area and from there, in best NBA coast-to-coast style, ran across the entire field and scored.
In 1988, George Weah moved from Cameroon to AS Monaco at the age of 21, where he got under the tutelage of Arsène Wenger, who became a key supporter of his. Weah quickly acclimatized to European football and from the start made an impact at the southern French side. After four years and 65 goals, he moved to Paris St. Germain in 1992 and then to AC Milan three years later.
The chance for FC Bayern to sign him probably arose before he moved to Paris, perhaps also during his second year at PSG, where Weah went through a bit of a slump, scoring only 11 goals. But after his move to AC Milan and his award as the world’s best footballer in 1995 at the latest, he was probably no longer affordable for FC Bayern.
In the early 1990s, FC Bayern was a good and successful club, but far from the behemoth it is today. Back then, championships and DFB-Pokal victories were hard-earned, and from 1991 to 1993 the club even went through a period without winning any title at all.
The club of Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the club that once scored 100 goals in a single Bundesliga season, had become the club where the most successful goal scorers scored 17 (Wohlfahrt, 1991/92), 14 (Labbadia, 1992/93) and 13 (Valencia and Scholl, 1993/94) goals in a season.
FC Bayern were creative and very enterprising in their search for a new world-class striker, but ultimately remained unsuccessful for years. Wohlfahrt was followed by McInally, Mazinho, Labbadia, Witeczek, Valencia, Papin, Kostadinov and many more, all of whom had one thing in common: Hardly anyone stayed longer than 2 to 3 years, and no one scored more than 50 goals for FC Bayern.
Even if the really large triumphs were missing, the Munich team in the early 90s was exciting. The team consisted of experienced players like Matthäus and Jorginho, great talents like Scholl, Zickler, and Ziege, as well as home-grown players like Nerlinger and Hamann. Oliver Kahn was to join them in 1994.
Only a striker was lacking. Weah could have been the missing piece of the puzzle for Bayern to play a bigger role on the world stage in the nineties as well.
The 23-year-old George Weah moves to the Isar in the summer of 1991. With a transfer fee of DM 10 million, Weah replaces Brian Laudrup as Bayern’s record transfer. Munich’s alleged interest in Labbadia and Mazinho turnes out to be a hoax.
Under coach Jupp Heynckes, Weah hits the ground running. In an otherwise mixed season, the Wohlfahrt-Weah strike duo is a pleasant surprise. FC Bayern manage to secure themselves a UEFA-Cup place thanks to 33 goals from “WoWe”.
Heynckes stays at FC Bayern. Together with Scholl, Matthäus and Jorginho, who are brought in one year later, Weah and the young wild guns storm to the top of Europe.
These are the African years of the Bundesliga. The long-distance duel between Weah and Yeboah for the best striker in Africa and for the Bundesliga goalscoring crown electrifies the football world.
While George Weah actually became a world footballer in his career, the next player only has the reputation of being able to become one (yet).