Dante's New Bayern Munich Contract Good News, but Guardiola Needs Centre-Back

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2014

Bayern's Dante looks to his fellow players during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

Brazilian centre-back Dante has ended speculation about a potential summer transfer after renewing his contract with Bayern Munich until 2017.

Per Sky Sports, the one-year extension keeps the 30-year-old at Bayern for a total of five seasons if he sees out the current deal. He has become a regular fixture in the side since moving from Borussia Moenchengladbach in the summer of 2012.

The Bayern No. 4 had been chased by the likes of Manchester United, via ESPNFC.com, but he has opted to remain with the current German and European champions as they head toward the culmination of another extremely successful season.

It's undoubtedly big news for the club, but Bayern still need to add another centre-back to their ranks this summer.


Current Cover

Beyond the established first-choice pairing, Bayern do have another handful of options at centre-back. Daniel Van Buyten remains a squad player at age 36, but with his contract due to expire in summer, it seems likely he will be allowed to leave on a free.

Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

There is also the case of Holger Badstuber. Once Germany's next great defender, the 25-year-old has been out injured for well over a year and isn't expected to return this season.

Sure, he could still return to a high level, but there is no telling how long a complete recovery could take, and Badstuber's initial mobility—and confidence—could be severely restricted.


Dante and Boateng

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

The current centre-back pairing of choice is Jerome Boateng and Dante. Boateng has enjoyed a return to his best form at times this season and doesn't look like he'll be removed any time soon. Dante is playing well enough to be coveted by top sides and to be a regular part of the Brazil national team squad.

They make a formidable combination when on top form, but beyond them, there is not enough cover for Bayern to go another season challenging on three fronts for major honours.

Bayern will play well in excess of 50 games again this season, necessitating at least one additional option in that position if Van Buyten leaves.


Or Just Buy Another Midfielder...

Of course, there is one more option for Pep Guardiola's defence this season and beyond: Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez, who operated at centre-back for Athletic Bilbao and has done so this term too.

Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

In the Bundesliga in particular, where Munich are utterly dominant and expected to control games week in and week out, playing Martinez in defence allows another player comfortable in possession to step out of the back line and into the central part of the pitch, recycling possession and dictating play even more than usual.

A change would likely be needed for European games or matches against better domestic rivals, but in the main, Martinez would not be out of place as a regular starter in the back line.

Guardiola loves to have flexibility and options in his midfield line, and Martinez, among others, provides this. It could be the ideal next step for Guardiola's team without having to resort to overpaying for what might otherwise be a third-choice central defender.