The winter transfer window in Germany is typically much quieter than we see in England, it lacks the rigmarole and fanfare that frequently occurs in our country. Its seen as a time to take stock and analyse exactly where your team is at come the halfway mark of the season. The general sentiment seems to be, only make additions if you really have to.
Making additions is almost an admittance that your season isn’t going to plan and there are issues with your team. Hence, the actions of Wolfsburg who acted swiftly to secure three new additions in the first week of the window, after seriously under-performing in the first half of the season.
However, one team who aren’t struggling are Bayern Munich, yet they’ve uncharacteristically made a double signing this week in the form of Hoffenheim pair Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule.
The overriding view from Germany is that January signings struggle to make an immediate impact, which often leads to them being branded a failure. However, the duo won’t be joining up with Bayern until the summer and they could prove to be extremely shrewd acquisitions.
Bayern have been a dominant force both in Germany and Europe for some time now, and whilst they’re by no means playing badly this season, they maybe aren’t performing at the levels they were under Pep Guardiola. One criticism is that the team needs to get younger with mainstays of the team such as Philip Lahm, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben all entering the twilight of their respective careers.
The signings of Sule and Rudy certainly help this with them being just 21 and 26 years old respectively. Despite their relative youth, both players come with an abundance of Bundesliga experience and should be able to make an instant impact for the champions.
At just 21 years of age, Sule is regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in Europe and has attracted attention from top clubs across the continent, like Chelsea and Manchester United. But it’s Bayern who have managed to secure his signature after agreeing a reported €25 million (£17.5 million) for his services.
Considering Manchester City paid nearly three times this amount for John Stones, Bayern seemed to have snagged an absolute bargain for a defender of a similar age and potential. Already a full German international and already having amassed 95 Bundesliga appearances in his short career, Sule arrives at Bayern with the requisite experience to step right in to the heart of the champion’s defence.
Some will criticize Sule for making the move to Bavaria, claiming that he won’t see much playing time with the likes of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez already in the Bayern defence. However, Boateng and Martinez have struggled frequently with injuries and can’t be depended on for a full season.
Should Sule perform in the same way he has for Hoffenheim, when given the opportunity at his new club, he could displace the aforementioned pair on a permanent basis and become a mainstay in the heart of the Munich defence for years to come.
Standing 6ft 5” tall, Sule is a towering figure, well-built and physically imposing, Sule is almost the perfect defender from a physical standpoint. His technical ability is also clear for all to see and he can often be found starting Hoffenheim attacks from defence.
Perhaps his biggest strength, though, is his composure, maturity and temperament. He has a great disciplinary record and is typical efficient in his play. Having played as a striker in the Hoffenheim youth teams, its hardly a surprise he is as good on the ball as he is and is such a threat in attacking positions.
Whilst the signing of Sebastian Rudy is perhaps the lower profile of the two signings and may not receive as much attention as the Sule transfer, it is arguably the shrewder piece of business in the short term. Rudy will be joining Bayern on a free transfer due to the expiry of his contract, which is why his acquisition may be overshadowed by the more expensive purchase of Sule.
Like Sule, Rudy is a German international. Signing a player with that sort of pedigree on a free transfer is a remarkable piece of business by anyone’s standards. Rudy is a versatile player who plays mainly in the centre of midfield, as a box-to-box type of player, or as a holding midfielder in 4-2-3-1 formation.
Having said that he has also played many times as a right-back, and this could be where he plays for Bayern. With Philipp Lahm coming to the end of his career, Rudy could slot into his role as the starting right-back with relative ease.
Rudy is an excellent passer of the ball, completing over 77% of his passes and completing two key passes per game on average. Since his move from Stuggart nine years ago, Rudy has played 177 times for Hoffenheim so he is a proven Bundesliga talent, who knows the league inside out and should be able to be a day-one starter in Munich.
Having played 14 times for Germany and numerous times for the various German youth teams, Rudy will be familiar with many of his Bayern teammates who also represent the national team. This will only help his transition from Hoffenheim to Munich.
The transfers have been met with an air of discontent, somewhat in Germany. With the view being that Bayern are once again hoovering up all the domestic talent. But from a Bayern perspective, this only serves to increase the value of the transfers, enhancing their own squad whilst weakening those of their rivals.
Also, it can be seen as good thing that talented players such as Sule and Rudy are remaining in Germany rather than seeking out moves abroad, where there was indeed interest from other clubs.
Bayern have acted thoughtfully yet quickly to snap up the two talented Germans from under the noses of other clubs and the double deal has all the hallmarks of a typically intelligent, efficient signing from the German champions.
Something which is often lacking in this country during the January transfer window where panic buying and reckless, spending for spending’s sake is all too common. The likes of Andy Carroll, Fernando Torres and Oumar Niasse spring immediately to mind. It’s safe to say that it’s highly unlikely the signings of Sule and Rudy will be remembered alongside the likes of those three.
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