Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick has called Manuel Neuer "by far the best goalkeeper in the world" and said he'll remain No. 1 even after Alexander Nubel joins the club this summer.
Die Roten announced in January that highly touted Nubel will sign a five-year contract at the Allianz Arena when his Schalke deal expires in June, leading to speculation over who will be Bayern's first choice in goal.
Flick answered that question when he told Sport Bild (h/t Goal's Liam Blackburn): "Everyone knows what I think of Manuel. He is by far the best goalkeeper in the world, I have no doubts about that. Therefore, there is no alternative for me. Manuel leads the team; it gives him the necessary security. We have a clear hierarchy with the goalkeepers. It will be the same next year."
Neuer, 33, has a little less than 18 months remaining on his current contract with Bundesliga leaders Bayern, which is due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
Manuel Veth of Forbes wrote in January that Nubel was guaranteed 15 matches per season in order to help lure him to Bavaria, adding Neuer is expected to extend his terms at Bayern.
Commentator Kevin Hatchard expressed concern for the 23-year-old's development after his upcoming transfer was announced, becoming the latest German prospect to join the juggernaut at Bayern:
Kevin Hatchard 🎙⚽️ @kevinhatchard
This seems problematic, at least in the short term. Neuer’s going nowhere, and seems to be very bullish about playing time. How is Nubel going to stay sharp, and what assurances has he been given? Bayern’s a huge club, but this seems like a very risky decision by Nubel. https://t.co/Wad8oj2hCg
Neuer appeared calm over his own long-term future at the Allianz when asked about the impact of Nubel's arrival after the deal was confirmed in January, per Goal's Patric Ridge:
"The Nubel transfer is irrelevant for my contract extension. Of course, I determine the requirements [of the contract]. I have the thoughts in my head, but of course I will not reveal them. Nothing comes out of me.
"It's a forward-thinking decision made by the club. Nubel is a top-quality goalkeeper. These factors are very important. It is therefore very important for me how the path with [coach] Hansi Flick continues."
Liam Twomey of The Athletic questioned the transfer management at Schalke, who have lost a series of high-profile and promising players on free transfers in recent years:
Neuer came in for scrutiny near the start of the season after a drop in standards at the Allianz Arena, though he was hardly the only player in the squad who went through a rough patch during that period.
Flick—whose agreement as Bayern boss runs until the end of the season for the time being—has helped Neuer and other senior stars at the club rediscover their previous levels since he took over in November.
Veth agreed with Flick that the Germany No. 1—who has thus far lasted in that position despite the growth of Barcelona-based Marc-Andre ter Stegen—is back to being the standard in his position:
Nubel's arrival could also cast doubt over the future of 20-year-old Christian Fruchtl, a highly promising keeper in his own right who is in his third season with Bayern Munich II, the club's reserve outfit.
Neuer will be 35 at the end of his current contract and clearly has Flick's support in the starting spot, leaving Nubel in doubt as to when he'll get his chance to officially take over the reins.