Bayern Munich Winter Transfer News: Tracking the Latest Rumors & Updates

Clark Whitney@@Mr_BundesligaFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

Bayern Munich Winter Transfer News: Tracking the Latest Rumors & Updates

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    Bundesliga teams have traditionally been quiet in the January transfer market, and Bayern Munich are no exception. In the last five years, the German record champions have made just three signings for their senior squad: Landon Donovan—whose intended purpose is anyone’s guess—a then-promising talent named Breno and emergency reinforcement Luiz Gustavo.

    January of 2013 looks set to follow the same pattern for Bayern, as all the obvious weaknesses in the their first XI have been eradicated. Manuel Neuer was signed to tend goal, Jerome Boateng and Dante were brought in to bolster the interior of defense, David Alaba emerged as the long-awaited successor to Bixente Lizarazu and Javi Martinez and Luiz Gustavo have been added to the defensive midfield ranks.

    Even among the substitutes there is an abundance of class: For every position Bayern have at least one fully capped senior international available as backup.

    In spite of the squad’s quality and depth, there have been many rumors linking Bayern with current and future stars, some more closely than others. Read on for a roundup and analysis of all of Bayern’s biggest transfer news.

Kevin-Prince Boateng (25, Milan)

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    TZ became the first source in Germany to report on Bayern's alleged interest in Milan attacking midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng in October, citing "widespread reports" from abroad.

    Milan are a train wreck at the moment, and with his contract set to expire 18 months after the January window opens, Boateng has some leverage to negotiate an escape.

    The attacking midfielder is a native German and his brother, Jerome, plays for die Roten. It's safe to assume he would be relatively comfortable in Munich.

    However, the question remains: Are Bayern truly interested in signing him anytime soon? Bayern currently have Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri as options in attacking midfield. There are several prospects making their way through the club's youth ranks as well.

    Due to Bayern's depth in attacking midfield, it can be safely assumed that if they have any interest in Boateng, it is not for the immediate future. Perhaps if they can snap him up on a free transfer, but not at market price.

    Likelihood of January transfer: 5%

Leon Goretzka (17, Bochum)

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    The most concrete link Bayern have to any player is that to Bochum central midfielder Leon Goretzka. Hermann Gerland, the Bavarians’ assistant coach, admitted in January that the 17-year-old is “A young player who is very interesting for Bayern.” He added: “I am interested in bringing this player to Munich.”

    More recently, Der Welt reported that Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer had met with Goretzka to discuss a possible transfer.

    A couple years ago, a player like Goretzka would have been a perfect signing for Bayern. Much has changed as of late, however. With Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo, Toni Kroos and Emre Can already pencilled in as the long-term future of the Bavarians’ central midfield, there really is no room for Goretzka. If there ever was any room for a 17-year-old central midfield prospect, that was filled by Danish talent Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg this January.

    Goretzka has many potential suitors, including Real Madrid, Arsenal, Schalke and Dortmund and, of course, retains the option of continuing his development at Bochum in the 2. Bundesliga. It is unlikely he will willingly move to Bayern (or Real Madrid, for that matter) as long as there are so many options ahead of him.

    For commentary on the ethics involved in Bayern’s pursuit of Goretzka, click here.

    Likelihood of January transfer: 15%

Senad Lulic (26, Lazio)

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    Initially published as part of a rumor roundup on the Mirror website, reports of Bayern’s interest in Lazio left-back Senad Lulic were picked up in the German press in the days that followed.

    Bayern have no need for a left-back at the moment, with David Alaba, Diego Contento, Emre Can and Luiz Gustavo as options for the role. Philipp Lahm, too, can switch to the left side of defense with Rafinha filling in on the right.

    Contento recently penned a three-year extension to keep him at Bayern until 2016, but with his minutes limited as he enters the prime of his career, he may soon seek employment elsewhere. If he does, there may be room for Lulic at Bayern. If not, don’t expect a transfer. In any case, it’s highly doubtful that Contento will leave before the summer, and more so that Lulic will replace him in midseason.

    Likelihood of January transfer: 5%

Sebastian Rode (22, Frankfurt)

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    Having spent €40 million on Javi Martinez just a few months ago, Uli Hoeness may be kicking himself for not shelling out a fraction of that expense to sign Frankfurt's Sebastian Rode. The 22-year-old has been simply outstanding for Frankfurt this season, emerging as one of Germany’s very best holding midfielders.

    TZ recently claimed interest from Bayern, but the likelihood of a move materializing anytime soon—let alone in January—is very low. There are many excellent central midfielders in the world, but Hoeness knows he can’t have them all. With Frankfurt competing for a spot in continental competition next year, they will certainly not give up their prized asset before the summer. And with Bayern’s central midfield already settled for the long-term, it is highly doubtful the club or player will have much desire to complete a transfer.

    Likeihood of January transfer: 2%