The way in which the director of football Hasan Salihamidzic announced the signing of French international Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig did not really pay tribute to the deal’s importance.
After securing the service of its top defensive target, the former Bayern striker only announced the deal worth 43 million euros until 2026 in a newspaper interview.
Closing the gap likely to be caused by Austrian David Alaba’s expected departure can’t be rated highly enough. Upamecano was reportedly the primary target for several top European rivals like Chelsea, Liverpool, and Paris Saint-Germain.
The smart move seems to have solved Bayern’s difficulties in defense as Niklas Suele lacks fitness and the injury-prone 32-year-old Jerome Boateng is approaching the end of his career.
Bayern’s announcement of the spectacular transfer took Leipzig by surprise.
After the league encounter against Augsburg, a clearly annoyed RB coach Julian Nagelsmann said, “I can’t comment on the news.” The club’s director of football Markus Kroesche remarked, “we haven’t been in the driver’s seat.”
Kroesche referred to an exit clause in Upamecano’s contract. The deal might not have surprised the Champions League participant, but the way it came to light did.
With a delay of several days, Bayern this Sunday announced Upamecano’s transfer in an official statement.
Coach Flick then eased tensions by saying he will fulfill his contract with the Bavarians and stay until 2023.
Rumors said the 55-year-old was dissatisfied with his club’s transfer policy. The former midfielder had been the object of speculation talking about a possible departure to take over the German national team.
Flick said he has no intention of following incumbent Joachim Loew as he intends to continue his career as a club coach.
The former assistant to Loew is currently busy working towards a successful end to the season as his side will face Lazio in the Champions League’s round of 16 on February 23.
As for next season, the Bayern coach sees the new signing as a vital cornerstone in his efforts to rejuvenate the team’s defense. Upamecano is said to move up to number one in the central defense.
Spaniard Lukas Hernandez and Suele will have to battle it out for the remaining job in front of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Suele’s future remains uncertain as he is said to have received offers from Premier League clubs like Chelsea and is considering leaving after he has lost his leading role in the Munich team.
Media reports say Bayern is intensifying its efforts to offer Suele an extension of his contract that expires in 2022. If they are not successful, they will be forced to enter the market again to find a replacement.
To only rely on a possible Hernandez’s breakthrough appears too risky as the Spaniard hasn’t yet matched expectations.