Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm have signed contract extensions with Bayern Munich, securing their club future just days before Germany begin their assault on the World Cup.
The announcement was made through the club's official website and reported by ESPN FC:
Bild, via 101 Great Goals, indicated Muller and Lahm have signed until 2019 and 2018 respectively. Muller confirmed his deal with a tweet of happiness to the fans:
While Lahm's future has rarely been doubted, the news calls a halt to rumours linking Muller away from the Allianz Arena. The versatile forward has been the subject of fierce links to Manchester United since Louis van Gaal took over at the Premier League club, as reported by Chisanga Malata of the Daily Star.
Muller's commitment to Pep Guardiola's side ends speculation ahead of the national team's ventures in Brazil, allowing the 24-year-old to focus on playing football, a real plus for the country's hopes.
His decision to sign a new contract appears to highlight a sudden strengthening of feeling toward Bayern, as recent quotes attributed to the player indicated he had plenty of thinking to do, per Bild and via Ben Jefferson of the Express:
I have come to a point where I want to know if I am an important part of the future starting line-up in Bavaria. And (I need to know) if the club really has plans for me in the coming years. That is why I have asked for a conversation.
Both Muller and Lahm regularly frequent the Bayern midfield under Guardiola. With Sebastian Rode readying himself to join the squad for the 2014-15 season, the Spanish manager faces a difficult task when rotating and keeping his hordes of talent happy. As noted by Germany-based pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft, the duo's decision to stay could indicate another pair face the chop:
While Bayern have insisted they won't offer over the odds to maintain Toni Kroos, the player may be disheartened to see Muller and Lahm receive what are likely to be prosperous new deals. As noted by Clark Whitney of ESPN, it is probable Bayern have offered top deals to the duo who recently re-signed:
Both Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger are currently linked with moves to Manchester United, reported by Liam Prenderville of the Mirror. While Real Madrid are also said to be in for Kroos, such deals may have been given more leverage by Muller and Lahm's new contracts, per The Independent.
Bayern have gone out of their way to secure the future of two key players before World Cup exposure is offered, leaving the others up for grabs. This is sure to sew doubt into the mind of Kroos, whose future remains unclear as he enters the final year of his contract.
Still, Bayern fans can rejoice with the news of Muller and Lahm staying. The duo embody everything about the club's modern image—strength, speed, creativity and loyalty—ensuring they will remain vital components of success throughout their extended tenure.
Bayern have done well to secure both heading into the upcoming major tournament. It's bound to be an interesting summer for the Bundesliga champions, who may be willing to cut players who are no longer considered essential.