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Squad planning

Nerlinger: Evolution, not revolution

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Bayern’s activity in the transfer market this summer will be guided by a policy of continuity rather than change, Christian Nerlinger exclusively told “I don’t think we need to resort to an kind of stunt,” the FCB director of sport said in an interview focused on the German double winners’ future squad planning. “There won’t be a lot of activity.”

Nerlinger underscored the club’s faith in the current squad, recalling the progress made last season, when Bayern not only claimed the domestic double and reached the Champions League final, but also played superbly entertaining football along the way. “It was fantastic. We want to return to the same level. We want success, but we also want to lay on the kind of football which had the Allianz Arena erupting with delight at times.”

Nerlinger is convinced that target can be hit without major new signings. “Naturally, our eyes and ears are open,” he acknowledged, but stressed that continuity was the watchword. “The right thing now is to help the existing players develop even further.” Nevertheless, there are currently a handful of new faces at Bayern – albeit none entirely new. Toni Kroos, Breno, Andreas Ottl, José Ernesto Sosa and Edson Braafheid have all returned to the Säbener Strasse, or will do so after the World Cup, from loan spells elsewhere.

Nerlinger is hoping for great things from Kroos. “He’s made tremendous progress with Bayer Leverkusen,” the director of sport stated, “I regard him as an exceptional player capable of operating at the highest level, and who can get even better under Louis van Gaal. We’re very much looking forward to that.” Breno settled immediately to life with Nürnberg in the second half of the season, “and proved he’s also a great player.” However, the Brazilian has yet to recover fully from a cruciate ligament injury. “It’ll be a while yet. He definitely won’t be ready to play by the start of the new Bundesliga season.”

Nerlinger is adopting a wait-and-see approach to the other returning players. “They all have contracts with us, and naturally, Bayern Munich honours contracts.” However, Nerlinger is planning talks with the individuals involved, due to the situation faced by the likes of Sosa. “Obviously, we have a very good player in his position, namely Arjen Robben. The same applies to Andi Ottl. So we have to sit down and work out a solution for the future.”