THE MARKET SITUATION (BUNDESLIGA EDITION)
So the season has ended and medals and rewards has been handed out to all the participants. There were the contenders, the pretenders, the perennial underachievers, the middlemen, and the relegation wanderers.
At the end of the season, it's believed that all the teams know where they belong and understand their predicament. It is also believed that having known their problems, each team would set out to find ways and plug the holes in their team, so they can move up the ladder to the next level.
This is an article to analyze the situation report in the market so far by German clubs in a bid to raise or consolidate their standards so they can compete favorably with their peers in the upcoming season. I started with the English premier league version which can be found HERE.
As usual, let's start with the clueless
Our first point of call in the clueless list is Bayer Leverkusen who seems to be living in a league of their own when it comes to transfers this summer. I think it's just a German league problem to be comfortable playing second or third fiddle to Bayern München.
As much as they've not lost the core of the team that led them to third place last season, one would have expected them to go all out and bolster the team considering that the UCL will add extra strain to their thin squad.
So far, they've only brought in Adam Hložek from Sparta Praha to bolster their forward options, while sending goalkeeper Lennart Grill on loan to Union Berlin.
To me the only positive thing they've done so far is the renewal of both Patrick Schick and Florian Wirtz's contracts, who were their best players last season. Perhaps they believe that with those two and they supporting cast behind them, they can consolidate on third best.
But then I believe that they're missing a golden opportunity to distinguish themselves from the rest and be counted among the best in the league. And then, what if a big club comes in with a transfer offer that turns Wirtz's head? What would they do? Not forgetting that Diaby is also courting a lot of attention.
Just as Bayer Leverkusen are fumbling, RB Leipzig have failed to take advantage. This is the team that had the player of the season last time out.
So far they've brought in central midfielder Xaver Schlager from Wolfsburg and goalkeeper Maarten Vandervoordt from Genk. On paper it might look like good business considering that the only notable departure is Hee-Chan Hwang to Wolves, and Christopher Nkunku is still on their books.
But what about when the Wolves start circling on Nkunku, it then throws you into unnecessary pressure making you probably overspend on a replacement that might eventually take too much time to settle.
The team has only 4 out and out attackers in Poulsen, Andre Silva, Nkunku and Mehmet Ibrahim. Apart from Nkunku, only Silva is above the average line. That's a clear indication that they need bolstering if they're to make any serious challenge in the league and UCL.
For the big winners
Yes it's the usual suspect, Bayern München. This is why they've dominated this league for so long. Yes they have the financial muscle, but how many times have you heard that Bayern bought a player for more than €50m? This is one of the best managed club in Europe. They're shrewd and effective in business.
So far they've gotten Ryan Gravenberg from Ajax (€18.5m), Noussair Mazraoui for free and Sadio Mane for a measly €32m. And their only notable departures are Lewandowski (who's not even left yet) and Nicklas Süle.
Considering that they're by far the best team in the league and still implementing such shrewd business even without too much media and fanfare, it shows just how competent and visionary the club's runners are.
With Lewandowski leaving, you can mostly be assured that they'll still bring in a new striker, perhaps from one of their struggling competitors.
Just after them is Borussia Dortmund, the only team that seems like a genuine threat to the champions. With Erling Haaland leaving for Manchester City, the club has set out to strengthen the squad by bringing in forward Karim Adeyemi (RB Salzburg), Centre backs Schlotterbeck (Freiburg) and Süle (Bayern), goalkeepers Alexander Meyer(Jan's Regensburg) and Marcel Lotka (Hertha Berlin), and midfielder Salih Ozcan (Koln).
With the likes of Bellingham maturing, one can never rule out Dortmund mounting a serious challenge for the title next season. That is not to say that their business has been perfect, truth be told they still a lot to do.
But then they seem to be on the right track and I see them improving drastically next season. The experience and winning mentality of Süle and Schlotterbeck's quality and consistency from last season will lay a very solid base for the team to thrive next season.
The biggest winners for me is Union Berlin. To think that they came up from Bundesliga 2 last season and took the whole league by storm to make the European places is quite astonishing.
Not to rest on their laurels, the capital club has set out to bolster their team with spending too much. They've brought in Lennart Grill (GK) , Timo Baumgartl (CB) Milos Pantović (RW), Tim Starke (RM), Paul Seguin (CM), Jeremy Leweling (RW), Danilho Doekhi (CB), and Janik Haberer (CM).
This is exactly what you would expect from a team like this. Knowing that they'll have more matches to play next season, they've set out to bolster the team in terms of numbers and quality.
I know very well that just bringing in a lot of players doesn't mean they'll automatically become hits, and when done wrong, it can destabilize the team. But then it's a good start if not fantastic business that they brought them in early. I hope that these players can easily slot in and settle fast to help the team next season.
Honourable mention to Eintracht frankfurt who are doing beautiful business with their team, clearing out deadwood and trying to fix the team with some nice business. I hope they turn out to be better than last season domestically because they are always a joy to watch.
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