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Christian Nerlinger:

'Lahm deal speaks volumes for Bayern'

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Bayern had more than just the 4-0 win against Cluj to celebrate on their return to Germany: Bayern have agreed an early extension to Philipp Lahm’s contract, which now keeps the Germany international at the club until 2016. It just remains to put pen to paper. spoke to director of sport Christian Nerlinger about the deal, and the relevance of the agreement with Lahm to the ongoing plans for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Interview: Christian Nerlinger For people outside the club, the agreement with Phillip Lahm went through incredibly quickly. Were the negotiations really that straightforward?
Nerlinger: “It was all done and dusted very quickly. We’ve been aware for a long time that a number of top European clubs have shown an interest in signing him, so it was particularly pleasing to hear from day one that he said: I want to extend my contract at Bayern Munich. And that was at the time we were getting off to a tricky start in the Bundesliga. We were all very pleased and impressed by that.” What are the ins and outs of such a contract extension?
Nerlinger: “First, there were friendly discussions about football in general. The details, and that was a very important element, were quickly dealt with after that. It was all over in 15 minutes. Then there was a meeting involving the board, his agent and myself, and then we were home and dry after that.“ When will the deal be signed?
Nerlinger: “I don’t see anything standing in the way of that in the next couple of weeks.” You mentioned the interest shown by leading European clubs. By his own admission. Philipp said early on that he’d thought about going abroad. What do you think made him agree to this deal?
Nerlinger: “I think he feels at home here, both from a personal and professional point of view, and that he’s satisfied with the developments at the club. I also believe that players who have come through from the youth set-up know how much we value them. Bayern Munich provides outstanding support and opportunities in all aspects of the game. But I’m sure he’ll talk about that once the contract has been signed. I’m really happy that everything’s worked out so well in such a great way without any wheeling and dealing. I’m also very pleased that we’ve been able to hold onto him for so long. At the end of the day that means a lifetime at Bayern for him.” Saying that, it’s unusual that a player spends his whole career at one club these days.
Nerlinger: “That speaks volumes for Bayern. Obviously, every player is flattered to be chased by big European clubs. If those players opt for Bayern Munich, you know we’re on the right track here. I think we’ve shown over the last 12 months we can compete at the top level of European football. And our aim is to continue at the top of the domestic league and compete in Europe.” Apart from his evident ability on the pitch, how valuable is a player like Philipp Lahm to Bayern?
Nerlinger: “Philipp is a great role model and an important personality within the club, like Paolo Maldini at AC Milan, which is always the best example for me. I think it’s great when you find your sporting home.”