Bayern part with one face of the club, surely another won’t follow
We may be reading between the lines somewhat here, but Bayern Munich appeared to be making every effort to show the watching world that two star turns generating plenty of transfer speculation remained very much on the books at the Allianz Arena last week.
Admittedly, whenever a new kit is launched, the big guns will be rolled out as part of a promotional campaign intended to whet the appetite of supporters eager to splash their hard-earned cash on merchandise which nails their colours to a particular mast.
by – az1172
It would be pretty odd if a launch – which now appear to be annual events for every club in all four corners of the planet – were to feature those on the fringes of the fold or academy graduates modelling the latest strip to roll off the production line.
Bayern certainly stuck with the tried and tested approach with their 2015/16 offering, with a galaxy of stars ushered in front of the cameras and ordered to strike their best catalogue pose.
Among those deemed worthy of such a role were Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.
Iconic figures such as Manuel Neuer and Xabi Alonso also featured in the campaign, along with the slightly less glamorous Holger Badstuber.
It is, however, the presence of Schweinsteiger and Muller that had those partial to the odd sliver of transfer gossip wondering if there was more to the pictures than meets the eye.
Both of the global superstars – World Cup winners with Germany in 2014 – had been drawing admiring glances from Manchester United, with Louis van Gaal reported to have been given license to spend big, again, during the current window.
Experienced midfielder Schweinsteiger is now on his way to Old Trafford, with a fee for his services agreed hours after the release of the new kit imagery, while Muller is a versatile performer who appears to generate exit talk every few months despite being a key man for club and country.
You do have to wonder why either would want to quit Bayern, given the success they have enjoyed since emerging out of a famed academy system.
They will be there or thereabouts on all fronts again next season, at home and aboard,with many a Bundesliga betting market having already conceded that the German title pursuit is a one-horse race and that only one side from that neck of the woods stands any realistic chance of lifting the Champions League.
That has done little to curb the rumours, with some eye-watering figures being bandied about amid talk of ‘new challenges’ and ‘fresh starts’ for two men who don’t know anything other than trophy-laden triumphs in Bavaria.
Bayern, though, are highly unlikely to part with both, with Pep Guardiola a man schooled in Barcelona and a coach well aware of the benefits home-grown talents bring to the table – just take a look at the side he toppled all-comers with at Camp Nou.
An appearance in a kit launch photo may be no guarantee that those involved are part of a long-term project and thus deemed irreplaceable, but you get the feeling that even though Schweinsteiger is being allowed to head for pastures new, Muller will be seeing plenty of the shirt he is helping to promote next season.