Hummels seeks Bayern buyback but will Borussia Dortmund sell skipper to rivals?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 30, 2016
May 19th, 2007; the date of Mats Hummels’ only Bundesliga outing for Bayern Munich to date.
Since then he has become one of Germany’s best defenders, helping them to win the World Cup and Die Mannschaft are 10/3 second-favourites with Coral to lift Euro 2016, while thwarting his old side at club level by marshalling the Borussia Dortmund backline to consecutive titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
Old ties endure
Despite being first farmed out on loan to the Westfalenstadion in 2007 and then sold for just €4m in February 2009, his loyalties to his first-ever team appear to have endured with Dortmund announcing captain Hummels wishes to rejoin Bayern this summer.
His current club have reiterated he is under contract until 2017, however, despite Hummels submitting a transfer request. According to German football stats site Transfermarkt, his value is eightfold what Dortmund forked out for him seven years ago.
Things are all set to be a summer of change in Munich, meanwhile, with outgoing and Manchester City-bound manager Pep Guardiola to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
Bayern backline problems
Central defence has certainly been an issue for the Allianz Arena outfit this term, with injuries often meaning David Alaba, best when breaking forward down the left-hand side of the pitch, has had to fill in out of position.
Hummels, who joined the Bayern academy aged six but was kicked to the curb by them as a teenager, may fancy his chances of adding to his medal haul and breaking into incoming Ancelotti’s reargaurd – something he had little to no chance of doing almost a decade ago.
Italian coaching maestro Ancelotti values intelligence, courage and ability on the ball far more than speed in the centre halves he has had in previous posts at AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid.
Hummels next among Ancelotti warriors?
Alessandro Nesta, John Terry, Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos respectively have never been quick over the ground, yet possess fine positional sense and decent distribution out of defence.
Guardiola teams in contrast are all about building from the back and possession starting there, although the Catalan coach has benefited from similar warriors like Carles Puyol during his successful spell with Barcelona.
Now 27 and entering if not already in his prime, Hummels would not be the first player to swap Dortmund for Munich and would certainly add that stature to the heart of defence Ancelotti outfits have always enjoyed.
Boateng a proven partner at highest level
Reprising a centre back partnership with Jerome Boateng at club level that won the World Cup on international duty two summers ago is arguably the equal of Nesta and Milan icon Paolo Maldini, Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, Thiago Silva and Alex, or Ramos and Pepe.
Moreover, Hummels would be following former Dortmund teammates Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski to Munich. Losing a third big name to their Bundesliga title rivals is unlikely to go down well with the ultras among the Westfalenstadion faithful that sit in their Yellow Wall.
It will also put the Borussia board in a difficult position. How can they sustain success and title challenges when their biggest rivals keep poaching players?
Dortmund in no-win situation
A decision over whether they sell Hummels now, while he still has a year left on his contract and command a fee, or let his deal run down and lose him for nothing in the summer of 2017 needs to be made.
Bayern do tend to monopolise talent, though Dortmund’s Ruhr derby rivals Schalke have their own lauded production line that Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil and others have rolled off in recent years.
Premier League pair Liverpool and their Northwest rivals Manchester United look set to be frustrated in their rumoured long-time pursuits of Hummels, though, with even Anfield having his former Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp at the helm seemingly not enough to sway him.
Allianz return a comfortable choice
Moving to Munich is the safe and easy option for Hummels. He is walking into a dressing room of winners and star attackers such as Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben who have lit up tournaments.
At the back, meanwhile, competition comes in the form of Bayern academy product Holger Badstuber, who has a wretched fitness record; Mehdi Benatia, the Morocco international signed from Roma who Guardiola hasn’t trusted to start over makeshift centre half Alaba at times; and Javi Martinez, another with a history of knee trouble.
Winter window loan signing Serdar Tasci has turned just twice since moving to Munich temporarily from Spartak Moscow and that would suggest the Bundesliga big boys will not exercise their buying option on him. Perhaps, then, Hummels has seen the opening to make his boyhood dreams of playing for Bayern come true if only Dortmund will do a deal with their ‘Der Klassiker’ rivals.
Pride comes before a fall
As with Lewandowski, there might well be an outright refusal to do business with Munich, leaving destiny when Hummels’ contract expires to take its course. Balancing wounded fan pride with sound commercial judgement is one of the unique curiosities of football transfers between heavyweight clubs.
There are other targets for Liverpool and Man Utd. If Klopp can capture the likes of compatriot duo Jonas Hector and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, plus Ukraine attacker Andriy Yarmolenko from under the noses of Merseyside neighbours Everton, then few Reds supporters shall be talking about Hummels.
By the same token, should there be a change of management at Old Trafford and Jose Mourinho is able to lure Sweden superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a Premier League swansong, United fans will happily gloss over defensive issues.
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