In case you weren’t aware, FC Bayern is having a pretty good transfer window.
But they had to, didn’t they? Not so much because securing the Bundesliga was in jeopardy. Not that at all. But because there’s always that next level—a level Bayern hasn’t reached since the 2012-13 campaign: winning the Champions League.
So summer arrived, but not without a few departures—most notably Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso—to retirement. So Bayern went to work, doing what they do best. They secured Juventus winger Kingsley Coman, who had spent the previous two seasons in Germany on loan. They took German youngsters Niklas Süle and Serge Gnabry from Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen, and they barely had to pay in order to do so. No seriously, the rest of the Bundesliga just gives them players. (It’s not their fault; clubs don’t realize that they don’t have to do that). I mean, where’s Sebastian Rudy going to play in Bayern’s team? It doesn’t matter, because he’s not going to play for anybody else! There was even the fairly big price tag (for Bayern, at least) attached to Corentin Tolisso’s €41.5 million move to become part of their central midfield.
The point is Bayern did their business, and they did it quickly. Then they did more, adding James Rodríguez to their attacking midfield ranks on a two-year loan. And yes, it comes with an option to buy. This one might be a little trickier to secure, though. After all, there might be room for James in Real’s midfield two seasons down the road. But for the time being, Carlo Ancelotti gets to manage him again. For the time being, James belongs to Bayern.
Which at present, just makes Bayern’s already over-powering squad laughably deeper. There isn’t a weak link in the starting XI. There isn’t a weak link on the bench either. But this will all mean nothing without another Champions League crown. That’s not me saying Bayern should be expected to win the UCL; no club should be expected to. But unless the rest of the Bundesliga gets their shtick together, what’s stopping Bayern from what seems like an inevitable sixth consecutive league title?
Can Leipzig keep all of their players for at least one more season and mount a semi-serious title challenge? Will Borussia Dortmund ever stop selling off their best players? Can Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke stop embarrassing themselves? Not all of those questions can possibly be answered with a ‘Yes’ next season, right? And in the meantime, Bayern can just gear up for another potential UCL run.
The best part, at least for James? The lack of pressure—comparatively speaking—that he will be under in Germany. This club already has an endless supply of playmakers. Ancelotti will find a place for him. Maybe he won’t thrive right away; after all, the Bavarian giants took a while to click under Ancelotti last season. But we all know what kind of player James is capable of being.
So while the rest of the Bundesliga focuses on playing catch up (again), Bayern can just worry about the endgame. It’s on the rest of the Bundesliga to ensure that isn’t the case.