Bayern Munich made it clear at the start of January that defense was going to be the area to address during the winter transfer of the window. With the way the summer window ended for Bayern, the midfield was also likely to be a priority area to strengthen. The Bavarian club had failed with a deadline-day bid for Fulham’s Joao Palhinha.
Despite not replacing Ryan Granvenberch in the squad, Bayern insisted that midfield will not be strengthened in January. They believed that the fee for Palhinha was excessive, which meant another bid for the Portuguese was ruled out. However, Bayern certainly have an eye on the summer when it comes to strengthening midfield.
According to SportBild (via iMiaSanMia), Christoph Freund has recently held discussions at Bayern during the training camp in Portugal to explore a summer move for Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi. The Spanish midfielder fits the bill of a perfect number six who is strong in and out of possession.
Freund has five to six options in this role, including Palhinha and an English midfielder. However, Zubimendi is currently favourite to be Bayern’s holding midfielder signing in the summer. The Spanish midfielder has a release clause worth €60 million in his contract at Real Sociedad.
Tuchel has been eager to sign a defensive/holding midfielder since arriving at Bayern in April. The German coach publicly expressed his desire to sign a defensively sound midfielder during the pre-season tour in Asia.
Bayern showed interest in Declan Rice during the summer window. The English midfielder reportedly held talks with Tuchel and Die Roten. Despite interest in Rice, it was not a feasible deal for Rekordmeister since they also wanted to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur. Rice eventually joined Arsenal for £105 million.
The interest from Bayern in Palhinha came late in the window when they accepted a bid from Liverpool for Gravenberch. The move eventually collapsed since Fulham couldn’t find a replacement. The Portuguese midfielder will be 29 at the start of the next season, so it is not surprising to see them look at other midfield options.
Zubimendi’s release clause makes him a very attractive option for Bayern. The Spaniard is ready to take the next step in his career after excelling at Sociedad for several years. The 24-year-old midfielder could end up spending his peak at Munich if a transfer materialised in the summer. It will be interesting to see how much impact a new holding midfielder will have on the future of Joshua Kimmich in Munich.