Bayern Munich has been decently busy in this summer transfer window, acquiring 22-year-old midfielder Thiago Alcantara from FC Barcelona on Sunday and 21-year-old midfielder Mario Gotze from Borissa Dortmund on July 1. Alcantara’s transfer fee was somewhere around €25 million, while Gotze’s fee was more pricy, costing roughly €37 milion.
For Alcantara, this move signifies a fresh start in a winning club that is familiar to him with ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola at the helm. For Gotze, his performances at Bayern will show the world whether or not he can succeed under the pressure of a Champions League title.
Many people know that, even with these signings, Bayern has an exceedingly talented midfield already with players like Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben. When these players are combined on one team, you have a very dangerous, multi-faceted midfield that can beat you with speed, dribbling or long shots.
So, why do you need Gotze and Alcantara? Well, these two players are both technical, gifted midfielders who are under the age of 25. The standout midfielders of Bayern this past season, Ribery, Schweinsteiger and Robben, are all right around 30 years of age. Ribery is 30, Schweinsteiger is 28 and Robben is 29. You can still be productive when you hit 30, yet it is only a matter of time before a 30-year-old will retire from soccer to move on with his life. So, when these midfielders depart from Bayern, Gotze and Alcantara will be in their mid-20’s, but will still have multiple years of experience in Bayern’s system. It’s a perfect setup.
Right now, the additions of Gotze and Alcantara have somewhat overcrowded the midfield, so there will definitely be competition for multiple positions. Since Thiago hasn’t proven himself as much as Gotze has, the former Barcelona player will most likely be sitting on the bench to start the season.
If Alcantara stayed at Barcelona, though, playing time would have been even harder to come by with the arrival of Brazilian superstar Neymar. Thiago, however, can garner starter minutes in Munich by outplaying his teammates as a substitute.
Gotze should be starting at center attacking midfielder when the season officially begins, but his position is not completely safe and secure, as Bayern attacking midfielder Toni Kroos is skilled enough to challenge Gotze at his position.
21-year-old Xherdan Shaqiri just recently moved from FC Basel in his home country of Switzerland, and he is definitely a very significant future player for Bayern. Nevertheless, as the midfield currently stands, Guardiola may put Shaqiri on loan in order to give the youngster substantial playing time.
We’ll see how the rest of this offseason unfolds for the Champions League titleholders.