Friday 13th August 2021
Powerless when it comes to record transfers
The elitist whining of FC Bayern
Needed by David
With Romelu Lukaku’s 115 million euro move to Chelsea, Bayern’s concerns about being left behind by the top European teams are growing. But there is no need for pity: Julian Nagelsmann’s grief is elitist. Now Munich know how the rest of the league feels.
Clubs plagued by the pandemic that have no money for transfers? Oh nonsense, there is no! At least not in England and France. Europe’s top clubs, especially from the UK, are investing wildly in star players. Literally outdoing each other with new names and huge sums of money. And the Bundesliga croesus FC Bayern just looks on in apprehension, coach Julian Nagelsmann and Co. send prayers to heaven every day, so as not to be left too far behind in the fight for the European football crown. But more on that later.
Of course, the French runner-up Paris Saint-Germain landed the greatest coup by pulling Lionel Messi ashore. Although the Argentine comes to PSG on a free transfer, he will be given a generous annual salary. England, on the other hand, whistles on a free transfer: Manchester City first bought Aston Villa from left winger Jack Grealish for 117.5 million euros. Now the English champions want to lose Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur, the English media are spreading a transfer fee of around 180 million euros. City rival Manchester United bought BVB Jadon Sancho for 85 million euros (Wilfried Zaha could also come from Crystal Palace for 45 million euros) and in Spain Real Madrid is fighting to poach world champion Kylian Mbappé for another record amount from PSG.
And now Chelsea is striking too. The team that voted itself the best team in Europe last season. For 115 million euros the club of coach Thomas Tuchel snaps Romelo Lukaku from Inter Milan, one of the best strikers in the world. The 28-year-old Belgian only just demonstrated his skills again at the European Championships in the summer, when he was only not involved in two of the eight Belgian European Championship goals. He shot four himself.
With the in-house record transfer (before it was Kai Havertz), Chelsea strengthened their position as one of the favorites for the national championship and the handle pot. The Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport once named the striker “Luka-King” thanks to his enormous accuracy at Inter. Extremely powerful and beefy, yet fast and agile: Lukaku gives Tuchel’s team, which was previously rather fluid and slender with Havertz, Timo Werner, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic or Callum Hudson-Odoi, now completely new options. Shield the ball with the robust 1.91-meter-and-93-kilogram body, then turn around the respective defender and come to the end or find the right pass – hardly anyone in world football can do that as well as Lukaku.
“Romelu is an atypical footballer,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte once about his striker at the time: “He acts as the center of attention, but can also attack from the middle of the field, like an American football player.” Champions League winner Tuchel now receives additional penetration, top class and variability and should be even more difficult to calculate by the opponents.
FC Bayern is one of these adversaries at European level. “There is a risk of being left behind,” said coach Nagelsmann on Thursday with a view to the mega transfers. “I rub my eyes every now and then, what has happened in the last few weeks. I don’t know exactly how they can do it.” Not amused, those responsible in Munich should have looked at the island when Lukakus changed his record. Nagelsmann’s worry lines, they will not have become smaller, but have mutated into deep furrows.
No pity for FC Bayern
Because the European competition is arming and pulling away. However, the German record champions see their hands tied due to the losses caused by the corona pandemic. With the exception of central defender Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig (42.5 million euros), nothing has happened on the transfer market. Although last season showed once again that Bayern are too thin on the offensive to tear anything in Europe, especially when striker Robert Lewandowski is out. Another world-class striker like Romelu Lukaku, the Munich team could have needed him more than the Champions League winners from London. Even if, of course, you can’t put the Poles or the Belgians on the bench.
“We must all be very interested in finding regulations, especially German football,” warned Bavaria’s former CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “Otherwise German football will be left behind on the international scene.” Well, you don’t have to feel sorry for the Munich bosses. Because German football has long been behind on the European level. All but FC Bayern at least (Leipzig and Dortmund are always within reach). And above all: nationally, all teams are a long way behind the over-team from Munich.
Julian Nagelsmann’s grief due to the mega transfers, he is only an elitist version of the worries of the German Otto Normal Bundesliga clubs. Clubs that have to turn every penny. The fight against the giant from Munich to get something from the TV contract. Who have to watch again and again as the nine-time series champion draws the best and most expensive players ashore. And the rest of German football depends.