Brilliant Bayern Business Clearly Looking Ahead

When you’re the biggest club in the country, life is inherently made just that much easier. One of the largest and arguably most well-run football clubs on the planet, Bayern Munich have yet again shown the rest of us how business should be conducted.

It all started back in January, when Bayern completed a double-swoop for key Hoffenheim assets Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy. The strong summer business would kick on from there, when the Bavarian juggernaut exercised their option on Kingsley Coman to keep him at the Allianz Arena on a full-time basis.

Without any signs of stopping, Bayern continued to flex their domestic muscle, this time sealing a deal for German winger Serge Gnabry off the back of a fantastic debut season in the Bundesliga for Werder Bremen after his move from Arsenal the prior summer. Still yet to be finished, French starlet Corentin Tolisso was also brought to Bavaria in what was Bayern’s fifth major bit of business of the summer, with a total sum equaling €90million.

Bayern now have been linked with a rumored interest in a move for Schalke midfield talisman Leon Goretzka. Despite both Schalke and the player dispelling the notion that any sort of agreement has been made between the two clubs, Sport Bild claim that a deal has already been struck. True or not, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone shocked if a move for Goretzka was on the cards in the near future, be it this summer or the following one.

The major criticism of the Bundesliga remains the same from those who don’t fancy the league—that Bayern bully the league from both a results standpoint and the player recruitment department. It’s true that there isn’t a single German club that can truly stand up to them (yet), but the way they do business and the way they operate is indicative of a club that is constantly looking ahead to the next step.

Despite the level of quality that runs through every inch of the Bayern first-team, key components are getting on in age, or, in the case of both Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso, have hung their boots up for good. Arturo Vidal is now thirty, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are thirty-three and thirty-four respectively, and defensive trio Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez are all twenty-eight and pushing thirty—not to mention the injury issues all have had in recent memory.

Bayern’s business may have seemed excessive on the surface—and yes it did target a potentially successful club in the making in the form of Hoffenheim—but their business was not only spot on, but necessary from a footballing standpoint.

Both Coman and Gnabry are the obvious long-term replacements for Ribery and Robben, and may even see more time on the pitch this season than many have guessed even if the elder statesmen remain fit. Rudy was the replacement for Alonso, but Tolisso is the long-term option to partner Thiago in running the show for the Bavarians through the middle. As for Süle, such has been his progression under Nagelsmann over the last two seasons that he is unquestionably the brightest young center back in the country, and he could very well fight his way into Bayern’s XI on a regular basis—certainly by next season—especially with questions surrounding the current options.

If their summer dealings in the market didn’t signal Bayern’s desire to be prepared moving forward enough, the fact that they promoted three to the first-team from the U19s lends obvious additional weight to what Bayern are in the process of building: their next core.

Seventeen-year-old goalkeeper Christian Früchtl is now listed in the first-team (though he is likely to continue to feature for the U19s or Bayern II next season), while German U19 center-back Felix Götze (yes, younger brother of Mario), and Austrian U21 left-back Marco Friedl have also been promoted. All three players are unlikely to feature often in the Bundesliga, and may be utilized in the DFB Pokal, but the importance of exposing them to the first-team set-up now will make their adaptation to a higher level just a little bit easier.

Three other Bayern first-team players have yet to turn twenty: Renato Sanches, Fabian Benko, and Niklas Dorsch, all of whom are nineteen. Questions will surround the future of Sanches, with cases to be made for both keeping and selling the player, but out of twenty-seven players listed in the first-team squad for the upcoming 2017-18 season, eleven are twenty-two or younger. Players such as Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller, Douglas Costa, Thiago Alcantara, and David Alaba are all key players who are either currently in their prime or about to hit their prime playing years. Bayern are not only established currently, but for the next five years at the very least.

From a monetary perspective, Bayern are currently the fourth-richest football club in terms of valuation ($2.57b), and current yearly revenue ($570m). Despite their financial strength, however, the need to spend hundreds of millions of euros a year on transfers is not a habit Die Bayern have picked up, unlike others in the European elite. In fact, this season is the first time they eclipsed €90million in money spent on player recruitment. It’s not about spending as much as possible, but about spending on the right pieces to add to the puzzle.

Ninety million euros is certainly not chump change, but with Tolisso being €41.5million of that total, the average money spent on the five moves they completed is just €18million. Such strong business, for players of proven ability over a large sample size, shows that Bayern continue to set themselves up for a the top position of power for the future. They may dominate the league, but it’s not for a lack of quality of their opponents, but the strength with which they operate as an institution.

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Andrew Thompson
An American, but a lover of the beautiful game, Andrew Thompson has been active in the sport for 25 years as a player, a coach and now a freelance writer. He's a diehard Arsenal supporter, but also has a special place in his heart for Borussia Dortmund and the German Bundesliga. You can find other work of his at Outside of the Boot, A Bergkamp Wonderland, and he is a podcast regular with The Football Hipsters Podcast.