The Sunday edition of Bild contained a surprise for Bayern Munich: a full-length telephone interview with Manuel Neuer and his agent Thomas Kroth. Kroth prefaced the discussion with the following explanation: “We normally never say anything about ongoing contract negotiations, but we currently have the impression that a picture of Manuel Neuer is being drawn in public that is simply wrong.”
Hansi Flick the last domino
The impression in question is namely that Neuer is wrong to make demands of Bayern in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. Kroth explained the timing of the negotiations as a consequence of Bayern’s recent decision to extend Hansi Flick. “There already were signals in the winter that the club would like to extend and was ready for talks.” Then, of course, it remained unclear who would coach Bayern in the coming years.
Neuer explained why he felt that the extension of coach Hansi Flick encouraged his own interest in extending with Bayern:
With the contract extension of Hansi Flick early in the year, a decision that made me very happy was made. Hansi is a super coach. The way he handles the players, how we play soccer, and also the atmosphere in the team under him — all that convinced me very much, and so his contract extension was also a signal for me.
Trust and appreciation — what Neuer wants from Bayern Munich
Bild asked Neuer directly what he wants. His answer:
I’d like to play as long as I am fit. But above all I’d like to feel trust; that is the most important thing for me. It’s completely clear to me that it’s unrealistic to nail the club down to a five-year contract as has supposedly been proposed. At 34 years old, I can’t predict how I’ll feel at 39. Hence the finality that has been publicly alleged makes no sense at all.
Thomas Kroth directly denied both the reported duration and salary of the contract that has been rumored — namely, a five-year contract with an annual salary of roughly €20 million. Kroth said, “Both these numbers are simply false. I can honestly say that we have always been flexible with respect to the duration in our conversations with Hasan Salihamidzic and Oliver Kahn.”
Neuer emphasized that he wants a contract with Bayern that would be a “win-win situation with which everyone is happy”