Bayern Munich Must Retain Toni Kroos at All Costs

Stefan Bienkowski@@SbienkowskiFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

Bayern's Toni Kroos kicks the ball during a German first soccer division Bundesliga match between VfB Stuttgart and FC Bayern Munich in Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Michael Probst

Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola may be getting on rather well at the moment following their 3-1 victory over Arsenal in the first round of the Champions League knockout stages this week, yet aside from the success on the pitch, things aren't going exactly to plan. 

No, we're not here to talk about a certain board member or his troubles with the taxman, but instead the constant fixation and media attention that has surrounded young star Toni Kroos and whether he will chose to leave his boyhood club this summer. 

The central midfielder has been linked with a number of clubs, none more so than Manchester United as reported by the Guardian here, following a supposed breakdown in contract negotiations between the player and his club.

But would Bayern ever let a talent like Kroos go?

Although Kroos has been a regular starter for Bayern this season, we have seen a slight dip in his performances since winning the Champions League last May. 

Last season, the attacking midfielder had 12 goals and 11 assists to his name by the end of the campaign in all tournaments, according to, yet this year he only has two goals in all competitions, whilst already reaching his best of 11 assists for the year. 

Gero Breloer/Associated Press

This has, of course, been down to two things or rather two players, who have arrived at the club —Mario Gotze and Thiago Alcantara—and subsequently complicated Kroos' role in the first team. 

The former Dortmund playmaker has come in as something of a forward and effectively pushed Kroos back to the limited position of a central midfielder. It was, of course, through the centre of the pitch, pushing forward into the opponent's box, that we saw the best of the young German last season in the Bundesliga and in countless crunch games in the Champions League. Yet this year he has had few chances to emulate such performances.

The arrival of Thiago has also added to Kroos' frustration as the young Spanish star is a central midfielder by trade and has since come in to the side as something of a regular plan B to the German player. 

Strength in depth and a constant stream of alternative options are exactly what Guardiola likes to have in any of his sides, but it's clearly something that has bothered Kroos since the new coach's arrival in the summer. Where this player once felt at home in his beloved Bayern team, he now finds himself out of position and under constant threat of being replaced. 

Yet that's not to say that he isn't someone who could still continue to develop and one day become the player that everyone at Bayern and throughout European football expects him to be. 

Whether the club will or will not choose to put Kroos on the same wage deal as the first-team key players such as Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribery, it doesn't change the fact that there isn't a single soul in Munich who doesn't believe he will one day be at that level. 

It's easy to forget that, at just 24 years of age, Kroos has already established himself at Bayern and for the German national team: a feat rarely seen during periods of such intense competition for each of these squads. 

Amongst the more fashionable stars of Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, Chelsea's Andre Schurrle and even Schalke's Julian Draxler, Kroos has flown under the radar of international infatuation for some time now simply because he now seems part of the Bavarian and German furniture. 

Yet that consistency and early start on world-class experience will eventually turn into the main driving force of his club and national side to come. One day Germany or Bayern won't have posterboys such as Schweinsteiger as their midfield engine, which is when Kroos' stock will truly go through the roof.

Although many would consider any potential departure of young Kroos from Bayern as something that will inevitably be a mutual agreement between both parties, and ultimately a decision that the club choose to make with regards to stating that the German international is not worth the wages he may demand, the larger message that would come from such a scenario could be quite damaging to the club. 

For even though Kroos may have become a star in his own right over the past few years, he will inevitably be labelled as a product of the Bayern youth team who chose to leave the club due to his own ambitions not being matched by the club. 

The most obvious example of this is, of course, the man who could ultimately replace Kroos, Thiago, who manages to embarrass Barcelona and their short-sighted evaluation of his abilities each time he pulls out another outstanding performance for Bayern.

Yet if the Bavarian club were to lose their own young star, we could see Guardiola's team and his own judgement questioned each time Kroos steals the headlines for any potential new club. 

For now though, such rumours are indeed nothing more than whispers and speculation, yet the prospect of Kroos leaving Bayern grows more and more likely as we continue to approach the off-season with no agreed contract extension in sight.


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