The player who found no luck at Bayern

FC Bayern loses the fourth defensive player in a row without receiving a fee for him. Niklas Süle is looking for a new challenge this summer. About a footballer who never became what he should have become with the record champions in Munich.

What is Niklas Süle actually doing in the coming season? This question has been partially answered since this Monday. According to “ntv” information, the central defender will no longer appear for FC Bayern. So there is only a partial answer as to where the giant defender is going. The matter may have already been clarified, but it has not yet been confirmed. The 26-year-old is probably going abroad. In any case, there is probably no club in the Bundesliga that seems more attractive to him than the record champions. And anyway, Süle had often indicated his affection for the Premier League in the past.

Maybe he’ll be drawn to Newcastle United, the world’s richest club of late, which is currently struggling to stay in the league but wants to play for titles next season. The rumor is in the world anyway. Just like that to Chelsea. Two central defenders could become free at the top London club in the summer. Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen should deal more intensively with a departure. The bizarre thing about it: Both footballers are traded at FC Bayern. All players would therefore be potential successors to their predecessors. Clear so far? Now who might be making the better deal? Munich shouldn’t be concerned about that for the time being. Because the more pressing question is why they can’t keep the most important defender again after David Alaba. The reappraisal should also be about the appreciation factor. Not just monetary.

Süle is the fourth defensive player in a row to leave Munich without a fee. There was no longer any use for the hero Javi Martinez, who worked so devotedly but was exhausted. With Jérôme Boateng, too, the waiver was a conscious club decision. At Alaba, the matter was also clear. A piranha named Pini Zahavi had stressed the club so much with his demands that a new contract was no longer possible.

The doubts remained – always

It is (still) unclear how exactly Süle’s situation was, whether he too only waived an extension because of the salary offered. Possibly Süle had also struggled with his perceived role. Because he is still not the head of defense that he was supposed to be in Munich after moving from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2017. At least not in the public eye. It also contributed to the fact that the bosses of the club never managed to credibly moderate reports about doubts about the player.

A good two years ago, in November 2020, there was suddenly a debate in the country about the defender’s physical condition. Süle was fit enough for the then national coach Joachim Löw, but not for the FC Bayern coach, Hansi Flick. He spoke of a training deficit. Well, it didn’t stop with this different assessment of the coaches. At the time, “Sport Bild” added that there was “internal discussion” in the management team as to whether Süle’s contract should really be extended. A game “on probation” was declared. According to the report, Süle should prove that he is “a Bayern player”. One with devotion, greed and professionalism. That was repeatedly denied to him. A slightly too big plus in hip gold was the keyword.

As of now, a good two years later, Süle has proven that he is a man for FC Bayern. Under his former sponsor at TSG Hoffenheim, under coach Julian Nagelsmann, the 26-year-old has risen to become the best and most confident central defender this season. With Lucas Hernández, who is also strong, he forms the most stable duo in the record champions, while Dayot Upamecano, who came from RB Leipzig, often varies in performance. The man, who in some places, like Süle, had also been proclaimed the new chief of defense, repeatedly hinted that he had the potential to become an outstanding force in the centre, but then he kept making ludicrous mistakes.

Nagelsmann hits it hard

Nagelsmann is one of those hit particularly hard by Süle’s departure. The defender is, if you will, the coach’s favorite student. In late summer he raved about the “incredibly many steps” that the 26-year-old could still take. And that if “everything goes normally, you wouldn’t recognize him in three or four months”. However, it probably didn’t come to that. But that Süle would become Germany’s best central defender again was by no means a foregone conclusion in the middle of last year. And this rating does not lose weight because Mats Hummels and Matthias Ginter no longer play at the top level. And that Jérôme Boateng is no longer discussed at all.

Another thing that Süle has done. All the warnings that FC Bayern would have a problem without Alaba and Boateng have not materialized in the long term. And yet it’s not as if he was given great honor because of it. As an indispensable item, it will not be traded in winter 2022 either. The hero status that Alaba (always) and Boateng (often) had in Munich was denied to Süle. Süle was always there, but never right in the middle when it came to recognition. Perhaps it will be his successor, because FC Bayern must first find a successor at this level…

Tobias Nordman


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