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Daily Schmankerl: Manchester United, Arsenal vying for Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt; Real Madrid to revamp backline with Alphonso Davies & Leny Yoro; Bayern bailing on Martin Zubimendi?; Chelsea wants FC Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong?; + MORE!

Bayern Munich is maybe about to colossally jack-up its backline thanks to the whims of Thomas Tuchel.
(Okay, maybe I am being too hard on ol’ Tommy, but the De Ligt situation has chafed me... back to my normal non-Tuchel bashing tone)
Matthijs de Ligt appears to be unhappy with status on the squad and both Manchester United and Arsenal FC are interested in giving the Dutchman a fresh start in England.
Clearly. these are options that De Ligt have to seriously consider during the summer:

Arsenal are interested in signing Bayern Munich defender Matthijs de Ligt, but Manchester United are currently in pole position to land the Dutchman, FootballTransfers has been told.
The former Ajax captain is now unsettled in Munich and De Ligt is not 100% happy with his current role at Bayern, as reported by Sky Germany. Sources have told us that Man Utd’s interest in De Ligt is genuine, and the Red Devils have spoken to the Dutchman’s representatives on more than one occasion. Furthermore, Erik ten Hag’s side currently lead the race to sign him, FootballTransfers understands.
As for Arsenal, De Ligt has been discussed internally, but the Gunners have not initiated contact with either the player or Bayern Munich.
Man Utd are currently in pole position to sign De Ligt, who is likely to leave Bayern in the upcoming summer transfer window. Ten Hag worked with the Netherlands international during his time at Ajax and would like to bring him to Old Trafford this summer, with Man Utd desperate to sign a new centre-back in 2024.

Even Fabrizio Romano is chiming in on the situation, which likely means De Ligt’s 2024/25 campaign will not be spent in Bavaria:

Matthijs de Ligt situation remains one to watch for the summer transfer window. Dutch defender didn't start for Bayern vs Leverkusen and was asked about his physical condition: "Fit enough to start? Top fit!", he replied to BILD. — Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) February 12, 2024

Brief BFW Editorial (Sorry! I last rant): It is completely bizarre that Bayern Munich’s front office and its board are allowing Tuchel to hammer away at players who could be foundational this team. De Ligt should be a player that Bayern Munich is building around — instead, Tuchel seems content to alienate him, watch him leave this summer, and then push for a nine-figure signing that he desperately needs. Under Tuchel, it will not matter who comes in. The results will continue to be the same.
Back to normal: It is very unfortunate in every way and for everyone involved. Just a year ago, De Ligt was helping hold the team together. Now, he cannot buy a minute (despite his lofty salary). It appears more and more likely that he will move on in July.

De Jong attracting major interest from Chelsea (
Speaking of a Dutchman, who needs a fresh start — FC Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is drawing interest from Chelsea FC:

Frenkie de Jong is growing increasingly disillusioned with life at Barcelona and Chelsea could offer him an escape route with a €100m (£85m) summer transfer bid, according to a report.
The Dutchman’s time in Catalonia has been dogged by interest in his services from the likes of Manchester United, though he is now into his fifth season with Barca since signing from Ajax in 2019 for an initial €75m.
De Jong had always been keen to stay with the La Liga giants despite Barca’s willingness to sell in recent years, but Relevo now state both the 26-year-old and the club are open to a summer exit.
The midfielder is said to disappointed with the Blaugrana’s timid La Liga title defence, while they suffered defeats in the Supercopa de Espana and Copa del Rey. Manager Xavi has already confirmed he will step down from his role at the end of the season.

Bavarian Podcast Works — Flagship Show: Season 6, Episode 31 (Bavarian Football Works)
Bayern Munich’s title hopes this season took a major hit and morale could be at an all-time low under Thomas Tuchel. what?
Bayern Munich needs to regroup and figure things out ahead of its midweek match against Lazio in the Champions League and a Bundesliga tilt vs. VfL Bochum. What we can we expect? Let’s discuss:

How Bayern Munich can start to fix things, but there is a risk that some parts of this squad are beyond repair.
It is time for Tuchel to re-think this strategy in using Harry Kane.
Is a rebound against Lazio in the works? Yes, but if the Bavarians fail, it will tell us all we need to know about this team’s mentality under Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas Müller is proving he is the ultimate company man this season (in a good way).
Why would Matthijs de Ligt want to hang around Bavaria under a coach, who has no use for him?

Leverkusen becoming a destination club? (Fichajes via
One of the hottest talents in Europe — Real Madrid attacker Arda Guler is considering a move to Bayer Leverkusen:
Arda Guler is considering leaving Real Madrid after just one season, with Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen willing to sign the 18-year-old.
This could be total nonsense, but would this have ever even been possible to see such a rumor last season?
Probably not.
Bayer Leverkusen is building something special, but the vultures will circle this summer — and one-by-one start to pick away at the roster...and maybe the coaching staff. It would be extremely interesting to see Die Werkself run it all back next season with largely the same crew.

LFC to compete with Gunners for Zubimendi (Football Transfers)
Liverpool FC and Arsenal appear to be the leaders in the clubhouse to land Real Sociedad’s Martin Zubimendi:

Liverpool are ready to challenge title rivals Arsenal for the signature of Martin Zubimendi, FootballTransfers in conjunction with Anfield Watch can reveal.
We are told that the Reds would be prepared to fork out the €60m (£51m) release clause to sign the Real Sociedad midfielder. Liverpool are planning to go all out and fight the Gunners for the signature of the Spain international, who has been in fine form in La Liga.
Arsenal are long-term admirers of the 25-year-old and are also thought to be plotting an offer in the summer. The Liverpool interest comes amid speculation that the club still need a top-class player at the base of their midfield.

Zubimendi was identified by numerous reports as a player who Bayern Munich might have rated as its No. 1 target for summer. However, those stories have cooled in recent weeks as interest seems to be flowing in from England. Now, Bayern Munich has — allegedly — identified Adrien Rabiot as an option to join the club, even if he is not the No. 6-type player that Thomas Tuchel has been rumored to desire.

Bavarian Podcast Works: Postgame Rant — Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Bayern Munich (Bavarian Football Works)
Well, that was an unmitigated disaster. Bayern Munich capitulated against Bayer Leverkusen and succumbed to a 3-0 defeat. Now that the team is five points behind in the title race, will the board take action? Or will they wait until Thomas Tuchel crashes out of the Champions League and slides further down the table before pulling the trigger?
Leverkusen were so much better. It’s incredibly frustrating.
Here are our talking points from the game:

What was that lineup? Why did Tuchel choose a back three?
Why bench Thomas Müller in a game like this?
Thomas Tuchel committed a cardinal sin — he decided to play scared vs Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen.
Somehow, Thomas Tuchel thinks that he’s still coaching Chelsea FC.
The stark difference between Leverkusen’s mentality and Bayern’s mentality, from a tactical and strategic standpoint.
Why was Guerreiro not used at left-back? A potential explanation.
“Did Nagelsmann do anything like this?”, asks Chuck. INNN proceeds to laugh maniacally.
Is the Nagelsmann sacking the reason why Tuchel still has his job?
The absurd karma of Josip Stanisic’s goal, and why it says damning things about Tuchel’s talent ID and squad building.
Is the board ready to write off the season?
A defense of the underperformers (Goretzka, Kimmich, Davies, etc.) in this current system.
The strange phenomenon of non-negotiables — why do Leroy Sané and Jamal Musiala get a free pass, while other players need to prove themselves constantly?
A final word on the game.

Madrid making proactive moves with Davies, Yoro (ESPN)
Real Madrid seems to be set on adding Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Lille’s Leny Yoro this summer. In fact, Los Blancos might have already advised both players to stiff-arm signing contract extensions with their current clubs:

Real Madrid transfer targets Alphonso Davies and Leny Yoro have been told they should not sign contract extensions with their respective clubs if they wish to move to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, according to a report. The majority of attention regarding Madrid’s summer plans has centred on Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join the club on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.
Madrid’s top left-back target remains Davies of Bayern Munich, while Lille’s 18-year-old Yoro has quickly emerged as one of their favourite centre-back options.
Both Davies and Yoro are out of contract in 2025, but it has been made clear Madrid will only be able to afford them this summer if they resist their respective clubs’ attempts to get them to renew. If the duo enter the final year of their contracts, Madrid could be able to sign them for cut-price fees.
Los Blancos expect Lille to come down on their €60m valuation of Yoro if a new contract is not finalised in the coming months. Yoro is still on the contract terms he agreed with Lille upon turning professional at 16 years of age.
PSG are also interested in Yoro but Madrid believe their long-standing influence in the game and recent success in promoting young stars may give them the edge.

Related Report: Alphonso Davies under scrutiny at Bayern Munich

Mbappé to spurn Madrid for new deal with PSG? (AS via

Could Kylian Mbappé do a 180 and stick with PSG rather than make a move to Real Madrid? Maybe:
Kylian Mbappé could end up turning down a move to Real Madrid again in order to sign a new contract at PSG, with the French champions willing to pay him €160m over the course of a fresh two-year deal.
This guy...

Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Podcast: Season 3, Episode 31 (Bavarian Football Works)
Okay, now that you have Europe cued up, you are officially ready for the massive Bundesliga tilt between Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen.
If that is not enough, let’s do a little more talking about the match, plus a lot more on this week’s edition of the Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Podcast. Here is what we have on tap for this episode:

There is an excitement and tension building up for Bayern Munich vs. Bayer Leverkusen.
Frans Krätzig set off for FK Austrian Wien.
The rumors linking Bayern Munich to FC Barcelona’s Ronald Araújo could actually be legitimate, while Leroy Sané probably won’t be going to Liverpool.
Why the emergence of Aleksandar Pavlović matters.
Sky ran a fan poll to pick Germany’s starting you agree?

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