‘100 million euros’ CB arrives, game changes

The battle between Kim Min-Jae and Eric Dier for the starting spot this summer may be irrelevant. The €100 million ($145 million) defender’s arrival at Bayern Munich is still highly likely.

Leading German media outlets are predicting a move for the ‘monster defender’. The Uruguayan defender Ronald Araujo, who can play both center back and full back for FC Barcelona.

Germany’s Sport Bild on Wednesday looked ahead to what Munich will do in the summer transfer market ahead of next season, and Araujo remains their main transfer target.

There is a lot of debate in and around Munich right now about the central defense. South Korean center back Kim Min-jae, who struggled in the first half of the season and played “solitary defense,” has been replaced by Tottenham defender Eric Dier, who was released by the club after the Asian Cup in Qatar.

In addition, the German media has been harshly criticizing Kim Min-jae for losing out on the starting role.

Kicker wrote on March 3, “Kim Min-jae is no guarantee of safety. The central defense solution should be Matthias Düricht and Eric Dier,” and ordered the exclusion of Kim ahead of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg against Lazio on May 5.

In fact, when Kim missed the Lazio game and was left out of the starting lineup for the subsequent Bundesliga match against Mainz, Bild, with the authority of a kicker, put Kim on the chopping block.

‘The €50 million ($71.6 million) man is no longer functional,’ Bild said on Nov. 11. Thomas Tuchel’s new losers,” it listed the Munich players who have been pushed out by Tuchel, with Kim at the top of the list.

“Kim Min-jae, who joined Bayern Munich for €50 million, has not been able to survive under Tuchel,” the newspaper said. “Tuchel has found a new central defense combination with Matthias Dürich and Eric Dier, who have been performing well.”

“The South Korean has started 25 of Munich’s 29 matches (this season),” he said. “However, he only played nine minutes in the Bundesliga match against Leipzig after struggling in the Asian Cup. Munich won that game 2-1. In the Champions League round of 16 second leg against Lazio, he was on the bench for the full 90 minutes (3-0 Munich). Against Mainz in the Bundesliga, he came on as a substitute (Munich won 8-1),” said the report, which also summarized Kim’s marginalized position.

“Dier and Mats Düricht have become the pillars of the team,” said the Bavarian state’s leading media outlet, Aventurer Zeitung. Dier joined Munich in the winter transfer window. There were some doubts about Dyer’s transfer, but it proved to be a good move for him,” adding that Dyer has become the core of Munich’s defense alongside Dürich.

“Dyer stabilizes the defense and adds organization, and his communication skills benefit the team. With a 64.7 percent success rate in contests, Dyer has the highest success rate among Munich defenders.”

“Kim Min-Jae, who joined from Napoli last summer, is now the third option among the center backs,” he said, adding that Dyer has pushed Kim out of the way.

However, the competition for center backs may be irrelevant in the face of the arrival of a big name defender.

In an article titled “Secrets of Bayern Munich’s Shopping List,” Sport Bild reported on Thursday that “Bayern Munich’s planning is already in full swing, and their shopping list includes some big names,” and that Araujo is a priority for the Bavarians. “Even if Tuchel’s future is not there (in Munich), Araujo’s qualities are still very much appreciated in Munich,” Sport Bild wrote, adding that “several attempts were already made to bring the defender from FC Barcelona in 사설토토 the winter. The Catalan club (Barcelona) was very adamant at the time” and that Barcelona rejected any contact from Munich.

However, Araujo himself didn’t see the move to Munich as a negative, according to the outlet. “The defender himself was not opposed to a winter move to Munich,” the source said, adding that “Araujo’s transfer would cost €100 million. The likelihood of a deal is dependent on the sale of existing players this summer.”

It’s no secret that Araujo has been linked with a move to Munich.

However, reports in Spain suggest that Araujo still favors staying at Barcelona.

“Barcelona’s key player has no intention of leaving this summer despite interest from Munich,” Spain’s Football España reported last month. “Araujo’s agent has arrived in Barcelona to hold talks with club officials, amid speculation that Munich want to sign him.”

“Barcelona are very reluctant to sell Araujo this summer, despite the club’s well-publicized financial problems. Inside the Catalan club, Araujo is regarded as the best defender in the squad and it would be much better to sell another defender, such as Jules Kunde, than Araujo,” explaining that Araujo is in an absolute position.

Barcelona are reportedly keen to re-sign Araujo, whose contract expires in the summer of 2026.

However, given that Barcelona’s finances collapsed after COVID-19 and they were forced to sell for Lionel Messi, there are many who believe that Barcelona will eventually throw in the towel and let Araujo go for a hefty transfer fee from Munich.

Munich have been searching for a center back combination all year. In the last two games, Dia-Derrikht has steadied the ship, but he’s not the right defender for Munich. When Tuchel steps down this summer and a new coach arrives, it will be a blank slate. Add Araujo to the mix, and we’re in for an even more entertaining battle.