Matthijs de Ligt was still missing when Bayern Munich’s star ensemble around Sadio Mané arrived at Munich Airport on Monday. The start of the US advertising tour with destination Washington initially took place without the designated Munich defense boss. The Dutch national player was only expected in the Bavarian capital in the evening, when the German soccer record champion was supposed to be across the Atlantic without Leon Goretzka, who was left behind due to knee problems. Medical check-up, signing the five-year contract worth millions and departure on Tuesday: ideally, these are the other items on the 22-year-old’s agenda. The transfer is the next summer coup by sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.
The only drop of bitterness from a Bavarian point of view was that national player Goretzka would be out for “six to eight weeks” due to a knee operation, as reported by the Sky TV channel. The 27-year-old will therefore miss the Supercup at cup winners RB Leipzig on July 30th as well as the Bundesliga opener on August 5th at Eintracht Frankfurt. Goretzka had already paused from December 2021 to March 2022 due to a knee injury.
Regardless of the new injury worries, the rumors of transfers at Bayern are slowly but surely dissipating. After the sale of striker Robert Lewandowski and the extension of Serge Gnabry’s contract, the next mega transfer is about to be completed in de Ligt. Lewandowski’s departure to FC Barcelona is likely to have increased Munich’s financial leeway and accelerated the second most expensive purchase in the club’s history. As early as Wednesday, de Ligt could face D.C. in the first Bayern test match on the week-long trip to the USA. United wear the FCB jersey for the first time.
70 million euros plus ten more bonus payments are said to have convinced Juve. With Lucas Hernández (80 million euros), de Ligt now has the most expensive defensive duo in the world. Bayern boss Oliver Kahn described the Dutchman as “a very interesting player, also in terms of his mentality”. What could the defender bring? Overview in opening the game, composure on the ball, robust defensive work – and of course leadership quality.
The change of the defender, who is also courted by Chelsea FC, will probably finally silence the criticism of Salidhamidzic’s transfer policy. If the 45-year-old was booed at the championship celebrations in May, his transfer record could hardly be better. First, the sports director in Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch and Mané steered one well-known player after the other to Munich. Then came the profitable sale of transfer flops Omar Richards and Marc Roca – and now the De Ligt hammer. The reputation of the sports director is more than polished. it shines
Since David Alaba left Real Madrid on a free transfer last year, Munich have been missing a boss in defense who also leads his neighbors. Dayot Upamecano, signed by RB Leipzig for 42.5 million euros, was too unstable in his first Bayern season. Hernandez, who also plays at left-back, isn’t the commander in the back line. It wasn’t Sule either. Benjamin Pavard, who has been the right-back up to now, sees himself better off in central defence.
De Ligt could mature into the new leader in defense. He was already captain of Ajax at the age of 18 and was an indispensable part of the Amsterdam team, who lost to Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals of the Champions League in the 2018/19 season. Right-back Mazraoui was also part of that young team at the time.