FC Bayern Munich made a surprising amount of money this summer from the sale of reservists and former youth players. Is this a business model?
The bosses of FC Bayern Munich around sports director Hasan Salihamidzic are responsible for a transfer phase that is astonishing in many respects: With Sadio Mané and Matthijs de Ligt, they guided – historically extremely unusual – two regular players from top international clubs to Munich. Despite repeated Basta refusals, Robert Lewandowski was ultimately allowed to switch to FC Barcelona for 45 million euros.
The most notable circumstance of this transfer phase succeeded FC Bayern in the shadow of the public fuss about this star change: With the sale of a bunch of reservists and former youth players, the Munich team took a total of 53.5 million euros due to the imminent departure of Joshua Zirkzee to FC Bologna will probably add another 8 million.
Irrespective of this, FC Bayern has already generated more money from sales this summer than ever before and, with the Zirkzee millions, has broken the barrier to income from transfers of 100 million euros.
In view of the purchase prices of the players who have now been handed over, FC Bayern also generated a huge plus. Tanguy Nianzou (now for Sevilla for 16 million euros) and Omar Richards (now for 8.5 million for Nottingham Forest) came on free transfers. Marc Roca (now for 12 million to Leeds United) and Chris Richards (now for 12 million to Crystal Palace) cost significantly less than they brought in.
Chris Richards is the most expensive departure among former youth players, but the talents Christian Früchtl, Ron-Thorben Hoffmann, Lars Lukas Mai, Christopher Scott, Alex Timossi Andersson, Nicolas Kühn and Armindo Sieb, who were once signed mostly for free, also generated a considerable sum together.
FC Bayern: These players brought in transfer fees during this transfer phase
Fee (in euros)
Robert Lewandowski (33)
Tanguy Nianzou (20)
Chris Richards (22)
Marco Roca (25)
Omar Richards (24)
Lars Luke May (22)
Christopher Scott (20)
Alex Timossi Andersson (21)
Nicolas Kuehn (22)
Christian Fruchtl (22)
Ron Thorben Hoffmann (23)
Armindo Sieve (19)
Reserve, loan or just let them train
How were these increases in value possible? For some former youth players, appearances in the fourth-rate reserve were enough to recommend themselves for changes to bigger clubs. And that is quite the point. “Of course we’re trying to become champions, but the priority is to develop talent,” said reserve coach Martin Demichelis in an interview with SPOX and GOAL. “After last season, eight of our players have turned professional at different clubs. I’m proud of that.”
Others used loans as a presentation platform for higher tasks, such as Chris Richards at TSG Hoffenheim or Zirkzee at RSC Anderlecht, who was about to leave. In the case of Nianzou, Roca and Omar Richards, who were already committed as professionals, it seems to have been enough that they trained with all the Munich stars for a few months. After all, they hardly got any chances to recommend themselves in competitive games.
In a way, Nianzou is a special case: the bosses attest the 20-year-old central defender as the only one from the ranks of departures that still has potential for a future at FC Bayern. “We will monitor Tanguy’s development closely because Bayern have the option to bring him back to Munich,” said Salihamidzic.
The Munich company secured a buyback clause and a matching right when it was sold. Should FC Bayern ultimately decide against a return, a resale participation will take effect – the Zirkzee deal with Bologna should also be structured in this way. And the current transfer fee could also increase by four million euros at Nianzou thanks to various bonuses.
FC Bayern: Real Madrid should probably serve as a role model
Acquiring players cheaply and/or early, training them and/or having them train with the pros and – if there is no sign of a major role in the professional team – selling them on at a higher price, possibly after a loan: This transfer period showed FC Bayern the viability of a business model that noisy picture to be investigated more intensively in the future.
Especially in the case of the very rich Premier League clubs, the seal of quality “comes from FC Bayern” appears to be sufficient for decent investments – see Omar and Chris Richards or Roca. Even if their chances of making a breakthrough at FC Bayern are slim even with the signing, players of this caliber are now considered a good investment.
This model is most lucrative for talents who, like Chris Richards, are signed before their first professional contract. This is exactly what the focus should be on in the future. The people of Munich serve as a role model picture-Reported by Real Madrid, who have made hundreds of millions this way in recent years. A number of Italian clubs such as Juventus Turin, Inter Milan or Atalanta Bergamo have meanwhile specialized in keeping loan player armies for player presentation, Atalanta currently has the largest with 46 men.
FC Bayern: Nübel and Tillman as the next candidates
All these clubs benefit from their excellent academies, in which they train and develop more and better players. Much more than they could ever need themselves. Since the opening of the 70 million euro campus in 2017, FC Bayern has also had a state-of-the-art and correspondingly large training facility.
When the youth department moved from the club premises on Säbener Straße to the north of the city, the number of boarding school places has more than doubled. In this way, more talent can be developed from afar, such as the American Chris Richards (joined when he was 18) or the Dutchman Zirkzee (joined when he was 16).
This summer, FC Bayern has already signed 13 players from other clubs for its three oldest youth teams (reserve, U19, U17). For the 17-year-old Croatian Lovro Zvonarek, the 16-year-old Dane Jonathan Asp and Noah Aseko of the same age from Hertha BSC, transfer fees in the low millions were due. Talents came from FC Barcelona or Juventus Turin, from South Korea or Nigeria. Maybe one of them will strengthen the professional team at some point, but they are more likely to serve as a good investment.
Even before that happens, two players who are currently on loan could return money next summer: Alexander Nübel, who was once signed from FC Schalke 04 on a free transfer, is still a regular keeper at AS Monaco, while Malik Tillman, who trained himself, made an impressive start at Rangers FC out of Glasgow. There should be a market for both.