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Bayern Munich Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of July 8

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2013

Bayern Munich Transfer News and Rumours Tracker: Week of July 8

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    With new coach Pep Guardiola finally at the helm, Bayern Munich have begun their preparations for the next campaign with a flurry of proposed moves, both in and out of the club, over the course of the summer.

    The Bavarian champions look set to continue adding to Guardiola's arising project to accompany Mario Goetze and Jan Kirchhoff in this new-look Bayern side. 
     
    (Last Update: Saturday, July 13, 09:00 EST)

    Despite bolstering a squad that many would consider has no equal, the triumphant European champions are likely to shuffle the squad ever so gently in a bid to refresh the Euro conquering side, and continue chasing down silverware. 

    As such, the arrival and departure of players is inevitable, with fringe and established players alike being linked with moves away and interesting new faces apparently on their way to the south of Germany. 

    Here's a roundup of all the latest rumours involving Bayern transfers, and be sure to come back regularly for more updates.

Thiago Alcantara(Barcelona to Bayern)

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    A transfer story that seems to have caught the entire sport by surprise this week is of course that of Thiago Alcantara making a late switch to Bayern Munich to play under former coach Pep Guardiola. 

    Initially announced in a press conference with the aforementioned Catalan coach on July 11 at the club's training ground in Riva, Pep stated very specifically just how much he wanted the Barcelona player.

    "I want Thiago Alcantara," was the opening statement(German) from the Bayern coach. "I have asked. I don't know what will happen."

    Before adding; "Thiago is the only player I want, that's what I told them. It will be him or no one. We have many players, but we need the special (quality) that Thiago Alcantara brings." 

    That day the media blew up in regards to such comments, in consideration of the fact that the Spanish international was all but set to join Manchester United, as stated in Guardian and other English papers not one week ago. 

    As if by clockwork Sky Italia then announced that the player had already agreed terms with Bayern Munich and was set to complete his move imminently, that very day. Yet, in a move not uncommon of the Italian media company, they quickly retracted such a claim instead replacing it with the player and Bayern at 'negotiations at an advanced stage' as confirmed by reporter Raphael Honigstein

    Thiago is still with Barcelona on tour for the time being and until anything else breaks, and isn't immediately retracted, then we can only assume so much. Thiago Alcantara still remains a Barcelona play for now.

Mario Gomez (Bayern to Fiorentina, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Man City)

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    Few players in this current Bayern Munich side represent the fast-paced changes of the Bavarian club quite like Mario Gomez.

    From record-breaking goalscorer and national hero two seasons ago to languishing substitute, the powerful German striker has found his place at the club all but eradicated in light of the squad's new direction. 

    The new, exciting play that Bayern Munich used to conquer domestic football this season has no place for an old-fashioned striker like Gomez. With the arrival of Pep Guardiola all but certain to accentuate that particular brand of play, the striker is likely to move on this summer. 

    The striker merry-go-round went into full swing this summer, with a number of clubs cited as possible alternatives for Gomez, with Napoli and Fiorentina supposedly devoted to signing the player.

    Despite Stuttgarter Zeitung's insistence (German) that the striker wouldn't favour a move to Italy, and Metro recently suggesting the player could make a move to Premier League side Tottenham, Bild reported (German) that the striker was definitely leaving the Bavarian club, having confirmed earlier that Napoli and Fiorentina had met with Gomez's agent, Uli Ferber, to iron out a deal.

    As the agent put it when speaking to Bild on June 3, "For a striker of Mario's goal tally, there is always greed." 

    However, on June 11, Ferber was asked if Fiorentina had won the race to sign the German striker, and the agent responded: "That's not true."

    This all came around the same time Juventus' name was thrown into the mix, with Kicker (German) suggesting the Italian giants were the best alternative for Gomez, and his agent stating that the club called the player a "very attractive" option. 

    Bild were again ahead of the pack on June 16 when they released a story suggesting that "every day another half-truth comes out," yet went on to explain that the player was back from his holiday and was to speak to representatives from Fiorentina, Atletico MadridJuventus and Manchester City, with the ultimate goal of agreeing to a transfer this week, and making the move before training commenced in Munich on June 26. 

    On Friday June 22, Italian reporter Tancredi Palmeri confirmed that Sky Italia (Italian) were running with a new story that the German striker had agreed to terms with Fiorentina, but they were awaiting the inevitable sale of Stevan Jovetic.

    Yet on June 24, a reporter asked Pep Guardiola directly about the striker moving to Italy, to which Karl-Heinz Rummenigge responded; "Until today there is no official enquiry so Mario Gomez will start training on Wednesday and then we will see what happens," 

    The latest club to show an interest in the striker seems to be Manchester City. With Carlos Tevez set for Juventus, stories such as this one from the Belfast Telegraph, on June 28, have been putting two and two together and suggesting that the Manchester club would seem like a suitable fit. 

    The striker didn't feature at all in either friendly matches against Fanclub Wildenau or TSV Regen this weekend, suggesting that things have simply reached a point were both parties are awaiting confirmation for the player to make some form of move.

    Yet, as announced by Sky Sports and other outlets on July 4, Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade announced that the club had yet to agree any deals with the player or indeed Bayern Munich saying; "in this moment there aren't any agreements to close the negotiation."

    Citing the club's responsibility to remain within their financial budgets whilst deciding any transfer fee for Gomez, Prade and Fiorentina made it very clear that all parties where a fair distance from any potential move.

    Keeping in line with such a tone, Sammer again spoke about the situation to Sport1 on July 8 stating; “If the conditions are not right, then it’s just not going to work,” “As long as our wishes remain unfulfilled, nothing is going to happen. But Mario wants to go to Fiorentina.”

    Then as if by some climactic urge to finally put a rest to this inhospitable saga, the news broke that very day on July 8 that Mario Gomez had finally agreed to make the move to Fiorentina, which was then confirmed by Bayern Munich, to a fee of around £17 million. 

    Finally the Viola had got their man. 

Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund to Bayern)

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    In what seemed like the most tied-up deal in all of European football, Robert Lewandowski's proposed move to Bayern Munich took a decisive turn for the worse on June 9.

    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc announced that the striker would not be joining Bayern Munich under any circumstances this summer. 

    Speaking to Kicker (report in German), Zorc said; "We have communicated to the player and his advisers that we will not agree to a transfer to FC Bayern this summer." 

    This all came after an interview in Sport Bild (h/t FIFA) with the striker on June 5, where he said: "I expect everything to be cleared up now so that I will be allowed to move to my dream club this summer. That would be the best for everybody involved." 

    This invoked a strong response from last season's Bundesliga champions, with Dortmund president Reinhard Rauball responding to the Polish international's desire to move to Bayern two days later, saying: "He is under contract at BVB for the upcoming season, without a release clause, and that is what those responsible for his future have made clear to him several times."

    A statement that reads as a clear warning in hindsight.

    With the manner in which this transfer saga has rumbled on for the past six months, it would seem foolish to assume that a bold line has finally been drawn under this transfer story.

    Yet on June 17 Borussia Dortmund's general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke announced while speaking to Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that "Robert will definitely be playing for Borussia Dortmund next season," despite rumours linking him to Bayern and indeed England. 

    Then, as if to suggest things had gone a little too quiet, Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp spoke on the matter briefly on July 8 stating; “It is a known fact that Robert is going to play for Bayern after the upcoming season."

    The Dortmund manager spoke at length about a deal not being agreed this season and the player's commitment to indulging the club for another season, until he can finally make his move to Bayern in the following year. It would seem for at least the coming season, Lewandowski will most definitely not be playing for Bayern. 

David Luiz (Chelsea to Bayern Munich)

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    In what could quite possibly be nothing more than an opportunistic rumour, Spanish publication Sport have suggested that Brazilian central defender David Luiz is Pep Guardiola's prime target for the following campaign. 

    The premise of such a rumour is simple: Bayern Munich do look rather light in central defence in terms of quality players, and David Luiz is an easy link to a style of football that Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich are renowned for. Player A plays style B football, therefore he is likely to move to club C. 

    The article itself offers nothing more than obvious observations, with no quotes or indeed any facts. 

    However Luiz has been linked with a move out of London for some time now, usually to Barcelona, and if Guardiola has instructed Mathias Sammer to hunt down a new central defender, then the Brazilian shot stopper may actually be an astute piece of business. 

    However, on July 3 Matthias Sammer, Bayern Munich's sporting director, denied interest in the player stating; "At the moment we don't plan to bring more players in" leaving us with a rather blunt answer to such rumours. 

    For the time being, Luiz remains a Chelsea player. 

Claudio Pizarro (Bayern to Schalke, Dortmund or Hamburg)

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    At the grand age of 34 years old, Claudio Pizarro really shouldn't be a heavy feature in any dealing between Germany's top Bundesliga clubs.

    But with 14 goals and nine assists for Bayern Munich this season, the Peruvian goalscorer has shown up on a number of transfer lists across the country. 

    Despite his fantastic record last season, it has always been considered likely that the striker would be deemed surplus to requirement and would possibly follow Mario Gomez out the door as Pep Guardiola went searching for more alternative striking options.

    Of course, with an expiring contract, the prolific goalscorer looks very attractive to most clubs, and the Hamburger Morgen Post (German) was the first to suggest a possible transfer to the northern city, with the striker posing an obvious solution to HSV's recently created problem of losing their star striker, Heung-Min Son.

    However, a more likely alternative would be Schalke—a club that can offer the striker Champions League football—as they hope to bolster their attacking strength beyond the inadequate backup forwards of Ciprian Marica and Teemu Pukki.

    Speculation surrounding the striker moving to the Royal Blues peaked on May 29, when the club's general manager, Horst Heldt spoke to Bild (German), stating: "He is a great striker. If he does not extend at Bayern, one has to deal with him."

    The player has also been linked heavily with a move to Dortmund in the past, but with the recent announcement that the club plan to retain the services of Robert Lewandowski for another season, it would seem unlikely that they would still be interested in the Peruvian as a stop-gap. 

    What seems likely is that the striker will stay on for one more season in Bavaria with speculation of a move almost coming to a complete halt upon the news of the Dortmund striker's cancelled deal.

    TZ on June 10 were the first to speculate over a new contract for the striker, yet since then little interest in the media has suggested that no deal has been signed. 

    On June 27, Pizarro's national team coach, Sergio Markarian, spoke to a local station 5RRP News about the striker having just signed a new contract with Bayern Munich, stating; 

    'Claudio has told me things & I knew his extension with Bayern was very advanced. It makes me happy that he can continue there.'

    Then, a week later, the official announcement was made by Bayern Munich. Pizarro was to sign a one year extension to his contract, and remain at the club for the follow season. Finally, a fitting climax to the player's long and bumpy summer of speculation. 

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal to Bayern Munich)

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    Despite the record-breaking defense that helped Bayern achieve such illustrious glory last season, the club seem desperate to bolster their back line in preparation for fresh challenges next season. 

    Dante, the 29-year-old Brazilian defender, had an excellent season for the Bavarian club this year, as he quickly made one of the centre-back positions his own. Yet the lack of a genuine contender to partner with the samba stopper is something that should bother Pep Guardiola. 

    Not surprisingly, a host of defenders have been linked to the club. Possibly the most realistic of the speculation is that surrounding Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny. 

    The 27-year-old French International has quickly established himself as the key defensive figure at the London club and, as such, has found himself linked with the German champions, as well as those from Spain, Barca

    In an interview with Eurosport France on June 16, which was later picked up by Mundo Deportivo (Spanish), Koscielny's agent, Stephane Courbis, said; "There has been no contact at all with Barcelona," "[But] I am sure that both Barca and Bayern have included his name on their list of three or four candidates to reinforce their defence."

    The story was later picked up by ESPNThe Daily Mail and Sky Sports News using similar quotes, and suggesting a genuine offer from either Barcelona or Bayern Munich may well be on the table. 

    The Sun then suggested on June 17 that the player would snub such a move to Germany or Spain, due to his love for Arsenal. Without quotes or genuine facts to back up the claims, though, it's hard to consider the article as a genuine twist in any potential move.

    Yet quotes did eventually surface on June 25 when the player spoke to local newspaper la Montage, which was then picked up by the Daily Mail, saying; 'I have a four-year contract. For now, I am still at Arsenal.' 

    Not exactly the kind of statement any potential bidders would have liked to hear. 

Micah Richards (Man City to Bayern)

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    In what seems like one of the most bizarre stories of the summer thus far, Manchester City centre back, Micah Richards, has been linked with a move to the Bavarian club amidst a peculiar exclusive from the Daily Star.

    In the exclusive, published on June 27, an unnamed source spoke on behalf of the player stating that Richards was unsure of his future at Manchester City and was willing to look at new options. 

    All well and good until said source brought the Bundesliga champions in to the picture, stating:

    'Bayern have made some inquiries and if a club of that stature want to sign you, then you have to give it serious thought.' 

    With the paper insisting on an offer from the Bavarian club for the young, England international we'll just need to wait and see if this is simple tabloid journalism or the real deal. 

Rafinha (Bayern to Schalke)

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    From one in-demand defender to one who's not quite as well-regarded, speculation over the proposed transfer of backup fullback Rafinha to his former club Schalke have peaked recently. 

    With only 17 appearances for Bayern Munich this season, the player is well beyond any regard as a necessary member of the Bavarian squad, and at 27 years old guaranteed first-team football won't be around for much longer.

    The proposed move to the Royal Blues came about when the club's chairman, Clemens Toennies, spoke to TZ (German) about the Brazilian defender returning to his club on June 5. 

    Speaking to the German website, Toennies said: "I think after my meeting with Rafi that he's a little far purified. He would like to return to Schalke, here is his family."

    One man who stands in the Brazilian's way is Atsuto Uchida, Schalke's current right back, who's just had a solid Confederations Cup with Japan, despite the nation being eliminated from the tournament early.

    Any potential move will depend heavily on how well Schalke regard the Samurai blue fullback. 

    Similarly, the club have also been linked with Fulham fullback Sascha Riether, as reported in the Daily Star on July 1st, which would again ruin any potential move for the Brazilian fullback.  

    With the Gelsenkirchen club certain to invest in the summer in the hope of cementing a strong Champions League campaign next season, backing up any defensive positions would be a wise move, but whether a right back is the priority is yet to be seen. 

Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Bayern)

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    Even before announcing his desire to leave Liverpool this summer, as reported byThe Telegraph, Luis Suarez had already been heavily linked with Bayern Munich over the past few months.

    Despite speculation never distinguishing itself from pure rumour—and possible media stirring from his agent, Pere Guardiola (Pep's brother)—the move was touted as early as March 25 by the Daily Mail and followed up by The Telegraph a month later. 

    In February of this year, the striker was quoted as saying: "If Bayern Munich makes an offer I would certainly be willing to listen and think about it," before adding that it did not mean he had considered leaving Liverpool. 

    Now that the striker has not only considered but intentionally set about leaving the Premier League club, any potential transfer now falls into the hands of Bayern's willingness to acquire the troubled genius. 

    With the recent news that priority signing Robert Lewandowski may not be available until next season, and a strong Confederations Cup run in comparison to his counterpart Edinson Cavani, Suarez may well find himself instantly pushed to the top of Guardiola's wish list as the club seek out a new striker to replace Mario Gomez. 

Arjen Robben (Bayern to Manchester City, Liverpool or Juventus)

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    Arjen Robben may have played a vital role in Bayern Munich's victory over Borussia Dortmund in last month's Champions League final, but speculation linking the player with a move out of the club has continued to surface. 

    "At the moment it is not an issue that I go. There is no reason. My plan is to stay," was the lambasting remark Robben made to Bild in an interview on June 7. 

    Still, it stands to good reason that the 29-year-old winger will feature rarely in Pep Guardiola's plans and, as such, a move out of Munich seems likely. 

    The Daily Star reported on June 7 that the Dutch international was being used as leverage in a move for Liverpool's Luis Suarez, yet the deal had been put on hold as the Bayern midfielder had no intention of joining the Premier League club. 

    However, news broke on June 12 when Bayern sporting director, Matthias Sammer, spoke to Voetbal International (Dutch) about Robben's situation, stating that the player would be playing at Bayern Munich next season. 

    “The truth is, he still has a two-year contract, next season he will continue playing for us,” He said to Voetbal International. "I read a lot of nonsense stories. Arjen has long lacked the recognition [given to other] creative players like Franck Ribery and he will love and appreciation the [fans now have]."

    Robben says he's staying, and Bayern say he's staying, yet speculation and doubt over the players future at the club still remains. For now the Dutch international looks set to stay put, at least until Pep Guardiola begins to implement any change. 

Nicolas N'Koulou (Marseille to Bayern)

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    Aside from all the feverish transfer speculation surrounding the goalscoring aspect of Bayern Munich's evolving side, quiet reports throughout France have suggested that the Bavarian club may be interested in submitting a bid for Marseille central defender Nicolas N'Koulou. 

    The Cameroonian defender has also interested the likes of Monaco, according to Mercato(French), in a move that would likely raise between €14-20 million from the Ligue 1 side. 

    With the real lack of any definitive partner alongside Dante in Bayern's defence, the need for a confident centre-back is necessary.

    Although Daniel Van Buyten and Jerome Boateng both featured heavily last season in the position, it is unlikely that Pep Guardiola will deem either good enough for a permanent spot.

    In addition to that, Holger Badstuber—the young German defender who offered so much promise in the heart of his club's defence this season—has been hit with further injury set-backs, keeping him out of any plans for the next nine months. 

    A capable central defender seems like a smart buy for Bayern Munich this season, and if Laurent Koscielny—another rumoured option for Bayern—doesn't fit the bill, maybe Nicolas N'Koulou may suit the Bavarian club perfectly.

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