1. Bayern: too big for the Bundesliga
Bayern Munich chairman and head of the European Clubs Association, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has relaunched the idea of a European Super League.
Rummenigge told a gathering at Bocconi business school in Milan that a 20-team league drawn from the continent’s top championships was very much a possibility and that one of the main drivers of the concept was the ever-growing gulf between the big clubs and the rest in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and England.
The Bayern boss, clearly flying a kite to gauge reaction, denied he was attacking UEFA and the current Champions League model, insisting that football had to adjust to ” the new challenges of globalization”. Rummenigge added that the Super League could either be run under an UEFA banner “or also privately”.
It’s not hard to see where this is all going. Growing tired of their absolute dominance of the Bundesliga, Bayern are scouting for new frontiers. And probably as soon as possible.
2. Wolfsburg prepare an emergency transfer swoop
Now that key Wolfsburg striker, Bas Dost, has been ruled out for at least two months after breaking a foot during a winter break training camp in Portugal, club CEO, Klaus Allofs, must find a replacement – and fast.
One candidate for the vacancy could be FC Basel’s young front-man, Breel Embolo, though he definitely will not come cheap at around 20 – 25 million euros.
Another target would the Senegalese, Mame Diouf, who this season has fallen out of favour at Stoke City and has a proven track record in the Bundesliga, netting 26 goals in 57 games for Hannover from 2012-14.
3. Neuer stays on his line for once
Thanks to the sterling work of their long-serving media chief, Markus Hörwick, Bayern Munich rarely make communication or PR errors. But probably made one last week when not allowing keeper Manuel Neuer time off from the club’s January training camp in Doha to attend the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.
The sole German representative in the FIFA/FIFPRo World XI for 2015, Neuer was the only one of the eleven chosen few not to show up for the big bash and with 190 countries tuning in live, that’s an
awful lot of free publicity going begging.
Former Bayern and Nationalmannschaft skipper, Lothar Matthäus, a recipient of the award back in 1991, certainly was not impressed: “It was a missed opportunity for German football, for Neuer and for Bayern. A club who wants to be a global brand has to be present at these times. It’s not a good picture.. Manuel could have shown the sympathetic face of Germany.”
4. Leverkusen work on their weakest link.
No one should be surprised that the ‘Werkself’ are pressing so hard to conclude a loan deal with Arsenal for their unwanted French right-back, Mathieu Debuchy. With both the experienced Roberto Hilbert and young Croat gun, Tin Jedvaj laid low by injury for much of the campaign and the Italian, Giulio Donati, far too prone to mistakes, the right-side of the Leverkusen back-four has been an open wound for months, one requiring urgent medical attention.
Another pressing problem for the BayArena management is the approaching loss of three of their main commercial backers. After 40 years of kitting the team out, Adidas are to disengage at the end of the season and both shirt sponsors (the South Korean electronics manufacturer, LG) and premium partners, Opel, are set to do the same. Complex times ahead for club CEO, Michael Schade.
5. Are Mainz preparing to cash in on Muto?
Mainz’s recent swoop for SV Mattersburg’s much in demand young Austrian international attacker, Karim Onisiwo, is being seen by many as the Rheinhessen’s club’s insurance policy should ace Japanese striker, Yoshinori Muto, pack his bags for the Premier League in the near-future.
Bought last summer from FC Tokyo, the 23-year-old Muto, has settled in brilliantly at the Coface Arena – scoring seven Bundesliga goals and making another four – and is heavily rumoured to be interesting
Manchester United. Mainz only paid 2.8 million euros for Muto and any offer for him in excess of 10 million would be absolutely irresistible.
“You often receive bank-busting bids for players as the transfer window winds down, ” says Mainz coach, Martin Schmidt. “You’re never immune from that.”