A few days back there was a rumour that Franck Ribery (Gary Neville lookalike, quality French winger and and a sureshot mover to Arsenal, amongst other things) had agreed terms with Bayern Munich and that the Owen Hargreaves deal to Manchester United was going to fund Bayern’s move for Ribery.
The move makes sense, because Bayern need good winger / attacking midfielder. It makes sense because Bayern Munich are a big club with big aspirations, and this season’s mishaps will surely not be repeated next season.
However, two things don’t make sense in this deal.
One, Bayern Munich are not playing in the Champions League while Marseille are. For what it’s worth, Ribery has said several times in the press that he wants to play in the Champions League, that he wants to play for big clubs and that he wants to win trophies.
Granted, Marseille aren’t going to win the Champions League next season. They probably won’t win the Uefa Cup either (Bayern might).
But if Ribery has said that he wants to play in the CL, why go to Bayern where they’re not anywhere near? Why not go anywhere else?
And that brings us to the next point – the ‘demand’ for Ribery.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are the two ‘continental’ clubs said to be most interested in Ribery (Marseille have refused to sell to Lyon – or at least they have said so last summer). Bayern will be losing Beckham to LA Galaxy and possibly won’t keep Reyes either, so they need a good winger. They’re in pole position in La Liga as well, and are guaranteed Champions League football for next season.
So aren’t Real interested? They have been able to ‘outbid’ other clubs in the past, so money would not seem to be the issue.
And where are the Premiership clubs? Will Wenger spring for a match-winning player? Will Benitez get an orthodox winger who actually knows how to play? Chelsea have been reported to be reluctant to spend big money and if Robben stays, there is little space for Ribery to play (SWP, Cole, Robben, in a diamond midfield, there’s really little space there). United need a winger (Ribery can play right or left, while Ronaldo and Giggs can easily switch to the left and center respectively).
Is Bayern the only top club talking to Ribery? Are they offering the highest wages / biggest transfer fees? The latter (wages / transfer fees) seems unlikely, so where are the other clubs?