Ever since the announcement that the much-coveted Pep Guardiola had chosen Bayern Munich as his next project, speculation has been rife as to who the Spaniard will be looking to bring to Bavaria when he joins during the summer. While the Bayern hierarchy will have ultimate control over proceedings in the transfer market, it is expected that Guardiola will have a huge part to play in recruiting players, as well as being given the necessary funds to do just that.
Even now, sitting on the balcony of his Manhattan apartment sipping on a cold drink, Guardiola is no doubt casting his watchful eye over current proceedings in world football and drawing up an extensive list of potential pieces to his puzzle. Here are a few of the players that could just be joining the Catalonian in the Bundesliga next season.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC)
The Uruguayan frontman was always considered a good player, but since his move from Ajax to Liverpool in 2011 his performances have seen him become established as one of the best strikers in the world. A clever player with an exceptional first touch, explosive acceleration and the ability to work within extremely confined spaces, he is a nightmare for opposition defences.
There are of course question marks regarding his temperment, as there have been throughout his career but it should be said that since that incident with Patrice Evra, his behaviour has improved immeasurably. Brendan Rodgers will know doubt try to keep his best player at Anfield and has already begun building his team around him but at the age of 26 and Liverpool looking some way off the Champions League, nevermind major honours, a move to the Allianz Arena could be hard for him to resist.
Potential Cost – €25-30M
Likeliness of Transfer – 7/10
Victor Valdes (FC Barcelona)
A stalwart for Barcelona since he broke into the first team in 2002, Valdes like Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta has been part of the backbone of Barcelona during their most successful period. He is an imposing presence; a master in the art of making himself appear bigger than he is and extremely proficient with high balls.
While Bayern are unlikely to allow the expensively acquired Manuel Neuer to leave any time soon the German number one is known to be a tad erratic, and having the mature and experienced Valdes breathing down his neck whilst also helping him could aide Neuer. Seems an unlikely transfer but with Valdes refusing to extend his contract at the Nou Camp and looking likely to leave during the summer, a move to the Allianz, and a reunion with Guardiola could be the next step for Valdes.
Potential Cost – €8-12M
Likeliness of Transfer – 6/10
Thiago Alcantara (FC Barcelona)
A product of Barcelona’s youth team and introduced to first team football by Guardiola, Alcantara is a strong, lightning fast midfielder who is extremely technically and at the age of just 21 has played over 50 times for Barcelona as well as having 3 senior caps for Spain. Despite all of his success, he has found opportunities hard to come by under Tito Villanova at the Nou Camp and with the likes of Iniesta, Xavi and Fabregas as competition has found it difficult to establish himself.
There is little doubt Guardiola rates him (the majority of his FCB appearances came under Pep) and a move to the Bundesliga along with regular football may be just what Thiago needs to lift his game to the next level.
Potential Cost – €12-18M
Likeliness of Transfer – 8/10
Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
A product of the Bayern Munich youth team, Hummels made only one appearance for the senior team before being loaned and subsequently sold to Borussia Dortmund in 2009. Well, how the Bayern bigwigs who deemed him surplus to requirements must be ruing their decision now. Since his move to the Weserstadion Hummels has matured into one of the best centre-backs in not only the Bundesliga, but the world.
Great in the air and strong in the tackle but it’s his coolness and compsure on the ball that has attracted presumptive glances from Europe’s elite clubs as well as drawing comparisons the Kaiser; Franz Beckenbauer. Although Bayern – with Dante, Badstuber, Boateng and the veteran van Buyten – are from lacking in defence, the chance to resign Germany’s first-choice centre-back should not be passed up. His defensive ability combined with his exceptional ability on the ball and eye for goal mean that few players in Europe, never in the Bayern team can offer what he does, in both the first and final third.
Potential Cost – €20M
Likeliness of Transfer – 8/10
Robert Lewandowsi (Borussia Dortmund)
A tall, powerful striker in the mould of Gabriel Batistuta, Lewandowski has set the Bundesliga alight since his arrival at Borussia Dortmund from Lech Poznan in 2010. He is the focal point of the Dortmund attack and is as good with the ball at his feet as he is in the air. Coveted by all of Europe’s major clubs, and mistakenly reported to have been on the verge of joining Manchester United last summer, the Polish centre-forward possesses exceptional movement and awareness, regularly creating pockets of space for his teammates to exploit.
Much more than a traditional target man and already rumoured to be in talks with Bayern over a potential transfer, Lewandowski may just be able to achieve at Bayern what Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to do at Barcelona; offer a legitimate plan B for Guardiola when the going gets tough, and the opposition park the bus. This one I’d put my hypothetical mortgage on.
Potential Cost – €20-25M
Likeliness of Transfer – 9/10
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