Donovan set to be sole winter signing
This season’s second transfer window opens on 1 January 2009 and lasts until the end of the month, the period when Bundesliga and other European league clubs are permitted to trade players ready for the second half of the campaign. However, Bayern’s activity in the transfer market will be low-key this time round, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has announced.
“Landon Donovan will be the only new arrival at Bayern this winter. We’ve agreed an initial loan period until 15 March, and we’ll sit back and see how it goes,” the former world-class striker told the club’s matchday magazine. “We have a solid and well-balanced team, and I see no need for major changes.“
No haste to sign Tymoschuk
Zenit St. Petersburg captain Anatoly Tymoschuk held talks with the board in Munich last weekend, but not with a view to joining the club in January, Rummenigge revealed. “It was simply an informative conversation, where we discussed the possibilities for summer 2009. That was all. There’s no pre-agreement or anything like that, and we’ve not tabled an offer. Decisions relating to summer 2009 don’t need to be taken in December 2008.“
Rummenigge confirmed that Lukas Podolski will remain at FCB for the rest of the season. “We’ve told [Podolski’s former club] FC Köln in no uncertain terms that there’s no chance of signing him in the winter break. Lukas will stay here until summer 2009 at the least – in fact, he has a contract until June 2010. He’ll definitely play the second half of the season for Bayern, and then we’ll review the situation.“ General manager Uli Hoeneß said at the weekend he could “well imagine” Podolski moving on in the summer, provided FCB find a new striker.
The name of Franck Ribéry will never feature in transfer talks while the player is under contract to Munich. “We know what we’ve got in Franck Ribéry, so let me reassure any worried fans: there’s no sum of money in the world which would tempt us for even a second. None whatsoever! The board is unanimous: Franck Ribéry has a contract until at least 2011 – he’s not for sale.“ The Frenchman himself addressed the subject a few days ago: “The way I see it, I’ll be at Bayern until 2011.“
The club will also open talks with key individuals Mark van Bommel, Zé Roberto and Bastian Schweinsteiger during the mid-season break, Rummenigge advised. All three players are out of contract on 1 July next year, “but we want to clarify the situation before the restart in January, and we have justifiable hopes that all three will remain with Bayern, provided we meet on a fair basis,“ the chairman said.
Good for a surprise in Europe?
Rummenigge is well aware of continent-wide interest in Schweinsteiger’s services. “The interest shown by clubs from England, Italy and Spain is totally legitimate. I know keeping him will be hard, but I’m not at all pessimistic. Bastian is Bavarian, he’s grown up here, he’s won his spurs with us, and became an international.“ Schweinsteiger has always said he will “talk to Bayern first” in seeking his next deal.
The chairman suspects the current squad could go a long way this term. “Our target is to retain the league title and also succeed in the other two competitions.“ Rummenigge feels Jürgen Klinsmann and his men could be a good outside bet in the Champions League: “I have the feeling an excellent group of individuals has come together as a team now, and that means we could yet surprise a few people. We may not be favourites for the trophy, but knocking Bayern out of the competition won’t be easy."