Breaking Bayern #3 – Jan / Feb Update

Welcome back! I was planning on releasing a blog to update you all with the results of the season, but so much has happened since we last spoke I think we needed a quick update.

January Transfer Window

We left off at the last blog post heading into the January transfer window, where there was a lot of interest in our players. Who could blame them? Almost everyone is in form, and we were sitting pretty at the top of league. Heading into the window, I was determined to keep hold of our key players. We were at the half way stage of the season, I did not want any upheaval to our playing squad that could de-rail our title charge.

Departures

January Departures

So, beginning with the departures. Roman Burki and Marcel Shmelzer had both been here for a while and were keen to move on. I felt no obligation in doing so, as both weren’t really part of my plans. Mahmoud Dahoud had limited game time, with 18 months left on his deal, I felt the the correct decision to move him on, and I was pleased to get £11 million.

Haaland, Hazard & Akanji

A few notable names that are not on this list; Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard and Manuel Akanji. All these players came under great interest from Europe’s elite. Haaland, who is enjoying a record-breaking season, has been entertaining the scouts which had been sent from PSG and Manchester City every week. Fortunately for us, there was no offer from either club in January. I can only imagine they were sorting their finances in order to step up their pursuit in the Summer.

With a new financial giant entering the scene through Newcastle United, it was only a matter of time before they came chasing one of our own. Thorgan Hazard, who is enjoying a great season down the right hand side, was a top target for the Toon. An initial £40 million was received, and ultimately turned down by myself. Taking in his importance to the team and the current form he was in, I set a valuation of £60 million on his head. Fortunately, Newcastle withdrew their bidding at £50 million. I wonder if I may come to regret not taking £50 million, but only time will tell.

Now on to the Bundesliga story of the window. What has been a regular occurence over recent years in the Bundesliga, is that when Bayern are struggling they tend to source their players from whoever they are challenging. We have seen it happen before, Robert Lewandowski, Hummels, Gotze for example. Through the departures of Sule, Alaba and Pavard, Bayern had seen themselves a bit light at the back. They switched their attentions to Manuel Akanji, like everyone else here, was enjoying a great season.

In what I found surprising, that when Bayern initially enquired about the availability of Akanji, the player came to me and asked for an official transfer request. I felt this was a kick in the teeth to me, we had worked so hard to be top of the league at Christmas, now one our best players wants to jump ship to challenge us. After failing to convince the player to stay, I set a £40 million valuation of the player. Bayern were back and forth throughout January, with several bids but nothing to our valuation. We held strong, and managed to keep hold of Akanji. I felt this was another victory against Bayern, who alternatively went for Goncalo Inancio of Sporting.

Arrivals

January Arrivals

In regards to our arrivals, I was keen on not spending money and concluding any permanent transfers. Facundo Torres, who had been bought in August, arrived on New Year’s Day.

To fill the void left by the Mahmoud Dahoud transfer, we opted to secure the services of Asier Illarramendi on loan until the end of the season. Also on deadline day, we became aware of the availability of Phillipe Coutinho. We had Reinier on loan from Real Madrid, who was playing back up to the current attacking midfielders at the club. When Coutinho became available, we made the decision to terminate the loan of Reinier and replace with him much more experienced Coutinho. I thought this was a nice little bit of business, and I hope he can help us push for the title.

January Results

Only the three Bundesliga fixtures in the month of Janaury. But for anyone who has managed in Germany before, it is vitally important to continue where you left off prior to the winter break.

The month belonged to who else but Erling Haaland. Two hat-tricks in the opening two games of 2022, while a great team performance away at Hoffenheim signed off a pretty impressive month from ourselves. Bayern had also a good month, which meant we did not manage to extend our lead out in front, but at least we maintained our 8 point gap.

February Results

Another fantastic month for us! The attacking football this side plays on times is truly remarkable. When the fantastic football is not quite great though, we show fantastic character to grind a win. Our trip to 16th placed Augsburg might prove to a pivotal result in the title race. Erling Haaland had been on a result of a heavy challenge in training, which resulted in fractured ribs and would be out for six weeks. We were not at our free-flowing best against Augsburg, but thanks to Donyell Malen (who was stepping up in Haaland’s absence) we found our new match winner. This result now had put us 12 points ahead of Bayern (who had slipped up with two draws in February), with 10 Bundesliga games to go.

Erling Haaland

So, I thought I was show you what kind of season this man is having. Now, I had never managed Haaland on Football Manager before, so I was eager to work with him on this version of Football Manager.

Clean Sweep

If an image can describe what kind of season Haaland is having, then that’s it. A clean sweep of all major personal awards, which he later dedicated them to my management. With our relationship at all time high, I thought we could get caught up in the moment and extend his contract with us. Unfortunately, that was swiftly rejected, which means he will probably be on his way in the summer.

Haaland Record

Well that’s that, thanks for reading! We are in good position heading into the business end of the season, let’s hope we don’t bottle it!

Come back for the next update, where I will take you to the end of Bundesliga campaign, a DFB-Pokal review and the return of a former Dortmund great in Europe when we review our Champions League campaign.

Feel free to follow any updates over on my Twitter.

Tom

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