Bayern Munich Transfer News and Rumors Tracker: Week of August 18
Less than two weeks remain in the summer transfer window. After somewhat of a lull, Bayern Munich are back and active in the market.
Most importantly, the loss of Javi Martinez to injury has left the Bundesliga giants in need of a new center-back. Following confirmation that the Spain international would miss over half a year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, coach Pep Guardiola added that "[Bayern] need a new player," according to BBC Sport.
While the center-back issue is the most pressing, Bayern could also end the Sinan Kurt transfer saga this week or loan out some of the club's younger players.
Be sure to check in here regularly for all the latest news and rumors regarding Bayern transfers.
—LAST UPDATED SATURDAY, AUG 23—
Kicker (in German) reported on Monday that Bayern's top choice to take over for Martinez in central defense is Mehdi Benatia.
If he is to move to Munich, the 27-year-old Benatia will come at a steep price. He has a contract with Roma that runs until 2018. What's more, following the big-money moves of the likes of David Luiz and Eliaquim Mangala earlier this summer, the market for center-backs is through the roof.
According to Kicker, Gazzetta dello Sport claims Roma turned down a €33 million offer for Benatia in June.
Incidentally, according to Spox (in German), Sky Italia are reporting that Benatia missed training on Monday.
While it could be because he is close to a transfer to Munich or elsewhere, he could simply be injured.
Update, Wednesday, August 20:
L'Equipe (h/t Express) reported on Wednedsay that Benatia's agent, Moussa Sissoko (not to be confused with the Newcastle player) was in Munich on Monday to discuss contract terms with Bayern and that the side came to an agreement.
The Bavarians allegedly tabled a €30 million bid on Tuesday, although Roma are said to be holding out for €35 million. At the same time, the Italian side are said to be working towards replacing Benatia with Manchester City's Matija Nastasic.
Update, Friday, August 22:
Bild reported on Friday that Benatia may cost Bayern €75 million in total. Roma are demanding €35 million, while the player's requirement is a wage of €8 million per year for a five-year contract.
Update, Saturday, August 23:
Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Spox, in German) reported on Saturday that Benatia's move to Bayern was a done deal. The paper claims Bayern and Roma reached an agreement on a transfer fee of €30 million, a compromise between the Germans' €25 million and the Italians' €35 million valuation.
With Toni Kroos having left the club and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez all sidelined with injuries for the next month or more, Bayern are short of options in central midfield.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t InsideFutbol) the German giants are keen to sign Marco Verratti to bolster their midfield. The 21-year-old Italy international has a contract at PSG that runs through June, 2018, and the club are said to be unwilling to sell such a valued prospect. However, Verratti is believed to be unhappy in Paris and may attempt to force a move.
Ander Iturraspe and Gonzalo Castro
Sport Bild reported on Wednesday that in addition to a natural center-back, Bayern are keen to add a hybrid midfielder-defender to their ranks and that Ander Iturraspe and Gonzalo Castro are being considered for the role.
The 25-year-old Iturraspe is a fully capped Spain international but could be difficult to pry away from Athletic Bilbao, where he has a contract that is valid through the end of June, 2017.
Castro, meanwhile, is well known to new Bayern technical director Michael Reschke, who recently left Leverkusen. The 27-year-old Castro has a contract that expires in 2016 and is said to be an easier target for Bayern, but is not the club's first choice.
Hours after reports emerged linking Bayern with a move for Mehdi Benatia, AS reported that director Michael Reschke was on his way to Madrid to negotiate with Atletico executives over a possible transfer of Diego Godin.
Atleti coach Diego Simeone is said to be categorically opposed to selling his star center-back, who has a contract that is valid through the end of June, 2018. But the report claims the 28-year-old also has a €36 million buy-out clause. If Bayern are willing to pay that amount, Atleti will be unable to stop them from prying away their star defender.
The Sinan Kurt transfer saga has dragged on for weeks, but the player is confident it will soon be concluded.
Speaking to Bild (in German), the 18-year-old said that his decision to join Bayern still stands and that nothing can change it.
However, Kurt has a contract with Borussia Monchengladbach that runs until 2016. To this date, the Fohlen have found all offers insufficient. The clubs have until August 31 to reach an agreement.
For now, it appears the young forward will play no on-field part for his club. He was not in the first team, the reserves or the under-19s over the weekend.