In-Sane! How champions Bayern threw away €75m on transfers
In fitting fashion for the manner in which this Bundesliga season has played out, Bayern Munich won their 31st German league title without doing much at all.
While Hansi Flick’s side were on the team bus on their way to the Allianz Arena Bayern were crowned German champions for the ninth, consecutive time thanks to Borussia Dortmund’s 3-2 win over RB Leipzig in an earlier kick off.
The result meant that Bayern could no longer be caught and had done enough to get over the line. With a match against Borussia Monchengladbach still to be played, the novelty beer glasses full of Paulaner beer were primed and ready.
However, amid the beer showers and celebrations with the old salad bowl, many at Bayern will look back on this season with a note of caution. While more than enough went right to ensure another league title, plenty also didn’t work at all. In particular, just about every signing the club made in the summer.
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Bayern’s horrendous record in the transfer window.
While the Bavarian giants are often famed for their cool and considered approach to the transfer window, there’s no doubt that this title win was made in spite of the new players that joined Flick’s team in the summer.
In the midst of a global pandemic that has squeezed the budgets of every football club across the globe, Bayern still made no less than seven permanent signings and a loan deal that cost no less than £56 million all in.
However, you’d struggle to find a single one that has had a serious and meaningful impact on Bayern’s entire season.
While some of the younger players, such as 18-year-old defender Tanguy Nianzou and new No.2 goalkeeper Alexander Nubel are somewhat excused, the rest have struggled to reach the demands expected of their new club.
Bayern Munich’s signings in the 2020/21 season
|Leroy Sane||£41 million|
|Marc Roca||£8 million|
|Bouna Sarr||£9 million|
|Alexander Nubel||Free transfer|
|Tanguy Nianzou||Free transfer|
|Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting||Free transfer|
For example, £9m signing Bounna Sarr joined the club from Marseille with the intention of filling in as a much-needed, capable right-back but after three abject performances at the start of the league season Flick dropped the French defender and has since only used him on three occasions in the remaining 24 league games.
Similarly, Marco Roca joined from Espanyol for around £8m with the unenviable task of trying to make up for the loss of Thiago Alcantara. And while at just 24 years of age the Spaniard has time to get better, the midfielder managed just two starts in the league this season as Flick instead turned to 32-year-old Javi Martinez or David Alaba to fill the holes in his midfield.
In Douglas Costa, Bayern made a somewhat panicked loan signing off the back of the Brazilian’s previous success in Munich and, likely, the manner in which Juventus were only too happy to shift the 30-year-old off their wage bill. Just one goal and three assists in 22 appearances for Flick’s side this season underlines exactly why neither Juve or Bayern are too interested in keeping the player ahead of next season.
In slight contrast, fellow newcomer Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has enjoyed moments of joy for Bayern this season but with just nine goals in 31 appearances the Cameroon striker has by no means suggested that he could feasibly lead the line for Bayern if a long-term injury were to befall Robert Lewandowski.
Sane’s struggles in his first season back in the Bundesliga
However, perhaps the most disappointing signing of the lot is Leroy Sane. After finally joining the club following at least 12 months of publicly and privately courting him, Bayern eventually handed over a fee of £41m to sign the Man City winger last summer.
Having suffered from a horrendous cruciate ligament rupture in the previous season, there was undoubtedly plenty of good will and patience wrapped around Sane’s arrival in Munich but while his fitness and match sharpness have slowly but surely returned to the appropriate levels, his ability to win matches for Bayern hasn’t.
The 25-year-old has undoubtedly enjoyed patches of good form this season and four goals and nine assists in the league is certainly nothing to smirk at but it’s also no better than Joshu Kimmich’s return from central midfield and half the tally Thomas Muller has amassed this season. Sane has been fine but we’re still waiting for him to prove that he can live up to his price tag and become one of Bayern’s key players up front.
Indeed, there’s still time for Sane, Roca and the younger players like Nianzou and Nubel to impress at Bayern but when new head coach Julian Nagelsmann arrives in the summer he’ll be well aware of what he’s inheriting. Bayern are still the best team in Germany but their recent transfer history suggests that plenty of work will need to be done next season.