Bayern Munich Transfer Tracker: Week of July 22 News and Rumours

Stefan Bienkowski@@SbienkowskiFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

Bayern Munich Transfer Tracker: Week of July 22 News and Rumours

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    As Bayern Munich took their trophy count to seven in the past twelve months this week, with a thorough beating of Barcelona to claim the Uli Hoeness friendly cup, Pep Guardiola and company have marched on with their desire for even more silverware with an impressive recruitment strategy over the summer.

    With the recent announcement of Thiago Alcantara finally joining the ranks at Bayern Munich, Pep can now call on the ex-Barcelona player along with Mario Goetze and Jan Kirchhoff to help him continue Bayern's proud tradition of being one of the best sides in Europe. 
    (Last Update: Saturday, July 27, 01:30 EST)

    Despite bolstering a squad that many would consider has no equal, the triumphant European champions have shuffled their personnel 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 has been inevitable, with fringe and established players alike being linked with moves away while interesting new faces have joined the champions in the south of Germany. 

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

Bayern Set to Trim Squad

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    After an outstanding friendly result against Barcelona in which Bayern showed the true extent of their wealthy squad, news has came out of the club suggesting that the squad size will be reduced before the end of the transfer window. 

    After the friendly with Pep Guardiola's old side, the Catalonian coach spoke briefly about discussions between himself,  chief executive Matthias Sammer and CEO Karl-Heinz Rummmenigge about reducing the match squad in terms of finding clubs for the less relevant players at the club, as reported by TZ online(German) on July 25.

    Those linked with a move away from Bayern are the obvious options such as Luiz Gustavo, but also the younger players hoping to stake a claim to the first team such as Emre Can,  Patrick Weihrauch and Mitchell Weiser who could all benefit from a season abroad or at another Bundesliga side. 

Luiz Gustavo (Bayern to Arsenal, Chelsea and Wolfsburg)

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    With Thiago Alcantara's arrival at Bayern Munich well and truly documented, the press have turned to the club with a fine comb and microscope to see just how this new arrival will effect the rest of the squad. 

    One player that seems destined to leave the Bavarian club is recent Confederations Cup winner Luiz Gustavo; Bayern Munich's Brazilian holding midfielder. 

    Bild (German) were the first to jump on this rumour, on July 17, stating that Pep Guardiola deemed the midfielder surplus to demand now that he had decided on the 4-1-4-1 formation for his Bayern side, leaving the Brazilian as third or even fourth choice midfielder. Yet no potential suitor was mentioned. 

    The first club to be linked with the Bayern midfielder were Premier League side Chelsea, when Talksport announced on July 16 that the London club were expected to make a bid for the player once John Obi Mikel was sold on. 

    The Metro then followed suit on July 19 with a story linking Gustavo to London again, but this time to Arsenal, were the midfielder would slot in to Arsene Wenger's side as the perfect utility man. 

    Then on the very same day Wolfsburg's general manager Klaus Allofs publicly announced his interest in the player in an interview with Bild, which was later picked up by Sky Sports, stating that the Wolves could be interested in the player if he was indeed transfer listed.

    "If you are looking to improve your team, and if the player is available for transfer, you have to discuss the name of Luiz Gustavo. There is no doubt about that." Allofs told Bild. "We are interested in him and we have told his agent about that."

    Gustavo's own representative Roger Wittmann, then spoke to Sport 1, which was reported by (German), stating: "There's nothing to it I can not take this seriously. He is now back in training since Thursday and Guardiola knows the boy just one day has never seen him. He would not just send off Luiz,"

    Possibly just a natural reaction from Gustavo and his agent to ensure they aren't publicly supporting a move, but we can be sure that such conversations have taken place at length between the two in private.

    Yet on July 27, Bild broke the story that Wolfsburg had then made an official approach for the player, which Sky Sports then picked up. 

    2We've made contact and expressed our interest," Allofs, again, said to the German paper, "We want to do things correctly. There are still some obstacles to overcome, however."

Xheridan Shaqiri (Bayern to Liverpool)

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    Another player who has been constantly linked with the Bayern Munich back door is the young Swiss midfielder Xheridan Shaqiri who looks set to test the resolve of Premier League side Liverpool, in the light of Thiago Alcantara's arrival.

    Despite spending a vast majority of the summer in Bayern's first team against numerous opposition across the club's multiple preseason tours, a regular spot in the starting eleven once the competitive games kick in seems unlikely. 

    As such, the media has been speculating for much of the month as to the likelihood of the young player making his way to Anfield and forging a career in England. 

    The rumour kicked in thick and fast around July 13 when multiple English papers, such as the Metro, suggested the Swiss midfielder was next on Liverpool's radar after missing out on a few targets. 

    This then forced Bayern in to speaking on the matter with club chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stating on July 16, as reported by Sky Sports"Nobody has called about Shaqiri. Right now there are no plans (to sell)."

    Before saying; "The coach is completely satisfied with him. I think we will go into the season with the current squad."

    As such, nothing concrete has come from Liverpool or Bayern to suggest that any formal bid has been made, but the press have continued on with the rumour and as seen in the Daily Star and Liverpool Echo in the days to follow; Rummenigge's comments seem to have done very little to suggest the move is off. 

Luis Suarez (Liverpool to Bayern)

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    Even before announcing his desire to leave Liverpool this summer, as reported by The TelegraphLuis 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 Arsenal set to throw everything at acquiring the striker, as reported by the Guardian on July 15, and Bayern just forking out for Thiago Alcantara, this deal looks less and less likely as the days go on.

    For now it would seem as though Suarez is destined to stay in England. 

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. 

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. 

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 of age 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 1, 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. 

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. 

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, perhaps Nicolas N'Koulou will suit the Bavarian club perfectly.