27th March 2018 is a date which will signify the end of an era of low-spending resilience at one of the biggest clubs in world football. Bayern Munich, the exceptionally oiled German maschine, announce the signing of Atletico Madrid’s exceptional French defender Lucas Hernandez for £72 million, a club record fee.
"End of an era" often connotes negativity for the future, but in this instance, it can be seen more like a long overdue progression.
The significance of this transfer is highlighted when you cross-reference the club in question, with the time of the year, the fee and the already announced signing of Lucas’s French teammate Benjamin Pavard. Bayern have always been efficient with their signings, but previously this efficiency was displayed with excellence in the art of wheeling and dealing.
Their hesitance in splashing out each season has left them chasing the Bundesliga, whilst trailing behind their European counterparts.
“It’s the biggest investment programme FC Bayern has ever had.” — Uli Hoeneß, Bayern Munich's President
After signing Canada’s Alphonso Davies for £9 Million and Leon Goretzka for free in preparation for the 18/19 season, it appeared as though Bayern were heading on yet another bargain hunt.
However, the mortality of their incredible squad is visible now more than ever, and with Robben and Ribery leaving at the end of the season, only a tonne of money can buy Bayern happiness. For a few years, Pep Guardiola’s impressive tactical implementation, and savvy signings like Joshua Kimmich created the illusion of a bright future, papering over the cracks left by the likes of Phillip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
But a shade of grey has lingered over Bavaria for quite some time now, and their conversion to the dark side looms large.
With summer fast approaching, good weather and Lewandowski to Madrid links are inevitable. But Bayern’s own shopping list would be the real mouth-watering sight. Leverkusen’s exceptional Kai Havertz would instantly become a household name in Germany.
Callum Hudson-Odoi could join the increasing number of talented Englishmen heading to the Bundesliga. Luka Jovic can be the perfect upgrade on Thomas Muller, and breaking up Frankfurt’s delightful attacking trident would be so typical of Bayern, it almost seems wrong to imagine it going any other way.
Real Madrid wanted (and got) another group of Galacticos, Paris Saint Germain & the Premier League clubs found oil, Bartomeu won the election at Barcelona, the Agnelli’s at Juventus hesitated and hesitated until a certain Portuguese tipped them over the edge...
Now, Bayern have arrived.
This is football now. We can complain about it, however, this frustration at powerhouses peacocking their riches shouldn't cloud the fact that the low spenders in the game will not budge easily. Ajax, Porto, Spurs, and Liverpool are all in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Money can create dream teams, but it can never create a lasting divide.
"I've never seen a bag of money score a goal." - Johan Cruyff
A quote relevant now more than ever, and added as a little tribute, as this week marked three years since Johan was taken from us, a footballing God, who was seldom wrong.Published 29 Mar 2019, 09:01 IST