The first three pre-season games for Bayern Munich have certainly highlighted Thomas Tuchel’s preferred midfield pairing for the start of next season. Joshua Kimmich has partnered with new signing Konrad Laimer in the center of the park during the first half of all three friendly games Die Roten has played until now.
Leon Goretzka came on in the second half of all three games. There has been intense speculation about the future of Goretzka at Bayern. The German midfielder is no longer an automatic starter at Die Roten, as Tuchel prefers the midfield pairing of Laimer and Kimmich.
Goretzka has been linked with Manchester United and West Ham United in the ongoing summer transfer window. However, the former Schalke midfielder has no plans to leave Bavaria. He remains determined to compete for a place in the starting XI and help Die Roten to achieve success on the pitch.
Kimmich has enjoyed a very productive partnership with Goretzka in the center of the park over the past few seasons. While talking to TZ on Saturday after the win against Kawasaki Frontale, Kimmich insisted that Goretzka is an essential member of the squad as he adds goals from midfield.
"“I know exactly what Leon is capable of. He’s an incredibly important player for us – especially with the way he plays football. His physique and goal threat are two very important components.”"
During a conversation with media (via Sport1) after the squad reached Singapore on Sunday, Kimmich also admitted that Goretzka is unlikely to leave Bayern this summer. Bayern is not actively looking to sell Goretzka as of now.
The Bavarian club is interested in signing a number six this summer, which will allow Tuchel to use Kimmich in the number eight position. Die Roten was interested in West Ham United’s Declan Rice for this role. However, the deal was financially out of Bayern’s reach, and Rice preferred a move to Arsenal.
The arrival of a new number six later in the window may give Goretzka some food for thought. The 28-year-old midfielder will need adequate playing time next season to be part of Germany’s squad for Euro 2024. It won’t be a surprise if a late move happens for Goretzka after falling down the pecking order under Tuchel.
There is also uncertainty around Ryan Gravenberch’s future at Bayern. The Bavarian club cannot lose him and Goretzka this summer, so it is likely to be one of them, provided a defensive midfielder is signed before the end of the transfer window. Goretzka has consistently insisted that he wants to stay in Munich, but assurances over game time may help him make a decision one way or the other.