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Squad planning

Chairman: Price is not the decisive factor

“That’s the first definite trophy,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared after last Saturday’s DFB Cup triumph in Berlin. The Bundesliga shield is all but certain to land in Munich hands, and the Reds are through to the UEFA Cup semi-finals. The first-ever treble in the club’s history remains a possibility.

Almost exactly a year earlier, Bayern lost 2-0 to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, ending their lingering hopes of snatching the title and all but ruling them out of the running for a Champions League qualifying berth. That performance, the board has repeatedly stated, was the signal for a dramatic overhaul of the playing staff.

Nine out, ten in

In the summer, nine players left the club and eight joined, with one more leaving and one arriving over the winter. Bayern’s spending dwarfed all previous records, with €25 million going to Olympique Marseille for Franck Ribéry, and more than €10 million apiece invested in Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni.

These record sums will not be beaten in summer 2008. “We don’t need to go shopping like we did last year. We’d finished fourth, we missed our targets, and needed to make changes. We have a good team now, so we don’t need as much strengthening,” chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge related to

Rensing deputy required

Rummenigge only sees a pressing need for a number two goalkeeper. “Michael Rensing will succeed Oliver Kahn, but we need an experienced man who’s happy to come here as number two.“ The Bayern chief confirmed talks with “a few candidates”.

However, the chairman did not rule out potential big-name signings. “The decisive factor is not the price, but whether a particular player would make us stronger. If we find someone who we believe fits the team both as a player and a personality, I could imagine us bringing him in.“

Lahm allows deadline to pass

Jan Schlaudraff’s switch to Hanover 96 was sealed on Tuesday, will likely depend on whether other players choose to try their luck elsewhere or decline new contracts. That is the present situation with Philipp Lahm, where the club has withdrawn its offer of an extension to his current deal, which expires on 30 June 2009.

”Unfortunately, we couldn’t agree on a contract extension. Philipp didn’t want to make a decision at the moment, so the talks ended without an agreement,” reported Rummenigge, although a deal at a later date has not been ruled out. “But we set a deadline and it passed. We made him what we considered an excellent and fair offer, but Phillip doesn’t want to accept it at the moment. We have to accept that. It was a joint decision, and we’ll see what the future holds.“

No hurry

Rummenigge emphasised that Bayern were keen to hold contract talks soon “especially with the younger players, in the hope we can find fair solutions. We have a few players out of contract in 2009.“ The group includes Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Christian Lell and Mark van Bommel, although Rummenigge feels there is no time pressure: “We’ll come to it all in good time.“