Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona join transfer race for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol
In a somewhat shocking revelation from Foot Mercato journalist Santi Aouna, Bayern Munich is among the clubs that have joined the transfer race for RB Leipzig center-back Josko Gvardiol, who has been one of the breakthrough performers during the World Cup in Qatar for Croatia.
Chelsea FC is rumored to be the frontrunner for Gvardiol, who only recently inked a contract extension with Die Roten Bullen. Now, however, it looks like the Premier League club has competitors:
Bayern Munich is very hot. A meeting (the date of which has not been revealed) is already scheduled between the management of the Bavarian club and the player’s representative for a possible rapprochement. According to a source close to the case, Real Madrid and Barcelona, also interested, are starting from further away, especially because of the stratospheric price that RB Leipzig will ask to let go its Croatian jewel.
Liverpool and PSG have not yet shown any interest in Joško Gvardiol. The battle promises to be as intense as the one for Erling Haaland a few months ago. It must be said that for many observers, the 20-year-old Croatian international defender with 17 caps is considered the best future defender in the world. And considering his past and future performances with Croatia in this World Cup, starting with the upcoming semi-final against Argentina on Tuesday, it is not far from being the case already.
While not formally interested yet, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are expected to jump into the mix as well.
For Bayern Munich, Gvardiol could be a key acquisition. Benjamin Pavard is expected to leave the club next summer, Lucas Hernandez suffered a major knee injury and is nearing the end of his deal, and there are probably at least some reasons to think Matthijs de Ligt might not be as finished a product as many would like.
With his deal running through 2027, however, Gvardiol will have a hefty transfer associated with him for quite a while.
Daily Schmankerl: Bayern Munich won’t pursue Atlético Madrid star Joao Felix; Contracts talks incoming for Lucas Hernandez; Man City’s Kyle Walker lauds Sadio Mané; Chelsea mulling offer for a Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho?; and MORE!
Bayern out on Felix (Kerry Hau via @iMiaSanMia)
According to a report from Sport1’s Kerry Hau, Bayern Munich will not be pursuing Atlético Madrid star Joao Felix despite rumors to the contrary:
Bayern are no longer interested in João Félix, contrary to recent reports in Spain. The Portuguese forward was an option for Bayern last summer. Salihamidžic had contact with Atlético, but the Spanish club rejected it. Félix is no longer a topic at Säbener Straße.
Skilled and talented, Felix has never really lived up to his potential — at least not yet. Passing on Felix is a wise move, especially give the alleged nine-figure transfer fee and hefty salary requirement. In addition, it is unclear exactly what role Felix would have or where he would play with Bayern Munich.
90min understands that Felix is looking to leave Atletico Madrid next year, amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Chelsea FC, although he is under contract until 2026 and Atletico may be unwilling to take a heavy loss on their substantial investment.
While Felix can play striker, an acquisition of him would feel like a very expensive half measure for Bayern Munich. Soon-to-be RB Leipzig center-forward Benjamin Šeško or Juventus ace Dušan Vlahovic feel like less expensive, better fits to be honest.
While neither Šeško nor Vlahovic is expected to be made available any time soon, that seems more like the type of player Bayern Munich should pursue to fill the No. 9 position moving forward
A locker room divided? Germany stars distrustful of Hansi Flick’s alleged Bayern Munich bias
According to a fresh new report out of Sport Bild, Hansi Flick & Co. became divided for a litany of reasons. Perhaps we know why Germany suffered this time around.
According to a report from Sport Bild (as captured by @iMiaSanMia), Germany went into the World Cup as a team divided because of Hansi Flick’s previous work with Bayern Munich.
All in all, this past World Cup was an underwhelming experience, with Germany ultimately being eliminated due to their untimely first loss to Japan 2-1 and Japan performing as the nemesis again beating Spain 2-1 in the last game of the group stage.
From the conclusion of the first group stage match, there were concerns about Germany’s unity and performance and those concerns have only been amplified and corroborated by this report. For starters, Germany seems to have been divided into two groups, the “Bayern Squad” and ‘The Rest”, as noted below:
This was problematic for a few reasons, however, the most notable part was Hansi Flick not creating a unified squad. That alone could be an easily fixable problem, but Sport Bild notes that there were even more problems. If one can remember, the “OneLove” armband became major news between Germany, England and Belgium prior to the start of the World Cup. Once Qatar and FIFA prohibited the armband, the expectation was that was it however a few of Germany’s players had other ideas:
The problems started before the Japan game. The discussion around the One Love armband on the eve of the game was led by (Manuel) Neuer & (Leon) Goretzka who insisted that a gesture of protest must be done. Other players didn’t want to take part in any political statements.
This disagreement led to what would become a rather infamous photo for Germany before the Japan match. It also, however, leads to a clearer power-structure within Germany not only including their captain, Manuel Neuer and his club teammate Leon Goretzka. Speaking of Goretzka:
During the Japan game, many couldn’t understand Flick’s decision to sub Goretzka on for Gündogan, which ultimately led to a loss of control and balance. Internally, it was criticized as a ‘harmony substitution’ to keep Goretzka happy. Gündogan was furious.
I’m just going to be rather blunt here: Ilkay Gündogan was atrocious at this World Cup. Frankly, he should have never been brought. Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Jamal Musiala do make up the Bayern midfield, but they’re also the best midfield trio Germany has. Jamal Musiala has supplanted Thomas Müller and the Goretzka-Kimmich combination is one of the best pivots in all of Europe. So, excuse me while I do not see this to be as big of a problem as others make it. Finally, one more core problem that appeared is Kai Havertz frustration at his lack of playing:
Ter Stegen was never going to start and frankly I still do not think he should. Call me biased, but Neuer is still the starter. That is not to say Flick should not open a competition, but Neuer still has time and time again kept Germany on the field when our far greater weakness Ahem Defense. You know it is still a luxury to have Ter Stegen as the No. 2. Havertz is a far more complex situation. He was undoubtedly the best player in Germany’s crucial 4-2 victory over Costa Rica and has done more than enough to be a starter. The problem is, where? He’s not going to take over Musiala as the CAM. The wings had talented players already there and unless Hansi Flick drastically changes the formation for accommodate him as a False No. 9, he might just have to accept his place as a rotational player. Not to mention Timo Werner or Niklas Füllkrug will be back as the striker.