Bayern Munich's Best Signings of the Past 10 Years
It would be fair to say that within the realms of reason that as things stand Bayern Munich currently bolster one of the best squads in modern football.
From Gotze to Muller, Ribery to Robben, and Lahm to Schweinsteiger; this side are full to the brim with World class players and are undoubtedly favourites for any competition that they take part in this season.
As such, we felt it best to take a look at how such a situation came about for this Bavarian football powerhouse from the aspect of the best players that the Bayern coaching and scouting staff have identified and acquired over the past decade.
Plenty of players have walked in and out of this famous Munich club, but only a select few can be considered as true greats of the modern era. Here is a selection of the top five that Bayern have signed over the past 10 years.
Mario Mandzukic will undoubtedly come in to this list as something of a surprise to most Bayern Munich fans.
He hasn't scored as many goals as Mario Gomez did in his time at the club, and he hardly compares to some of the wonderful strikers who have led Bayern's front-line in the past.
Yet what Mandzukic offers is something in between those two extremes, and gosh does he do it well.
Jupp Heynckes' decision to sign the Croatian striker last summer was met with groans and moans from sections of the German media, but as the side grew ever closer to trophy after trophy, it became rather apparent just why he had done so: Mario Mandzukic is Bayern's jack of all trades, and he compliments the side perfectly.
New coach Pep Guardiola may be set in his striker-less ways, but as of yet, the ex-Barcelona man is still to find an appropriate system to combat the necessity this side have for their sole striker.
Until then, this player is priceless and equally vital to Bayern's winning ways.
When it comes to defenders at Bayern Munich, few stand above Brazilian tackler Lucio in terms of influential centre backs in the club's recent past.
Although Bayern's defensive capabilities may be summed up these days by another Brazilian with a slightly more flamboyant haircut, it was Lucio who truly established himself as one of the best when he moved to Germany in 2004.
Yet it wasn't until 2006 that we really saw what this man could do, as he guided Bayern to the Semi Finals of the 2008 Champions League, where they eventually lost to Milan, as well as winning three Bundesliga titles over the course of his six years in Munich.
By then he was already a regular starter for Brazil and confirmed as one of the best defenders on the planet.
At £34 million, Javi Martinez comes in to this list as the most expensive Bayern signing ever.
Yet within 12 months of signing on the dotted line for the Bavarian giants, Martinez had played a strong hand in winning three major trophies for the club.
What's most important to consider when we discuss the quality of Javi Martinez is to note just how well the Spaniard works alongside Bastian Schweinsteiger.
For Jupp Heynckes, Martinez was the final piece to his puzzle, and with the pair dominating in midfield, Bayern were able to conquer all before them last season with relative ease.
Due to injury, we've yet to see much of the towering midfielder this season and with new coach Pep Guardiola moving Philipp Lahm in to midfield, things don't look quite as comfortable for him as they did last season.
Yet at only 25 years of age, it seems unlikely that the Catalonian coach is set to ditch the Spaniard, and instead find a new role for the player in his own quest for endless silverware.
It would seem odd to consider Manuel Neuer as anything but the epitome of a cool-headed shot-stopper, yet when the young goalkeeper joined Bayern Munich from Schalke in 2011 for the price tag of £26.5 million, he was no more than a bag of nerves that had been left in charge of Bayern Munich's back door.
As such, it's a true testament to the German number one and the progress he's made over the past two years that such a scenario seems so hard to imagine. Manuel Neuer has since grown in to his role at Bayern Munich and become one of the best goalkeepers in the World.
Now the goal mouth is his. It's as simple as that. Whether it be a cross, through ball or shot, Neuer dominates his goals with an air of confidence and sheer intimacy that brings back welcomed memories of Bayern greats of old.
At just 27 years of age, Bayern can expect this top class talent to continue doing what he does best for at least another ten years, making that once dominating price tag look like something of a bargain.
Last but certainly not least.
Franck Ribery concludes this list as undoubtedly the best player at Bayern Munich in the past ten years.
Signed from Marseille in 2007 for a then club-record fee of £21 million, Ribery has slowly built his way up the pecking order in numerous squads, past four coaches, to the front of the pecking order at Bayern Munich.
Last season Ribery scored an incredible 16 goals and contributed 29 assists in just 55 games for Bayern and France as the side marched to a domestic and European treble.
And as we can see from his stats, none of that would have been possible with his own hard work.
The German giants may now be able to boast about having one of the biggest and strongest squads in the world, but it was this man who they signed six years that has brought them all this success.
And as such, he is undoubtedly the best signing the club have made in the past ten years.
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