It’s been known for some time now that Danijel Pranjic isn’t happy in Munich anymore, he even announced that he’ll leave the club at the end of the season. Now it turns out that this could’ve happened 6 months earlier if it wasn’t for Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who essentially ruined the transfer by asking for too much. Let me explain why this is a stupid move.
285 – the number of minutes Danijel Pranjic has played for Bayern this season. If you exclude the 90 minutes he played for the reserve team and the 90 minutes of the absolutely meaningless Champions League match in Manchester, we’re talking about a mere 105 minutes, 93 of those collected in cup matches against inferior opponents.
Now you know how important Pranjic is this season. Granted, it wasn’t always like that. To compare, he played 2943 minutes (10-11) and 1820 minutes (09-10) in the other two seasons since joining Bayern in 2009. Very respectable numbers, Pranjic was a regular without anyone really noticing.
These numbers also make it obvious why he isn’t happy anymore. The Croatian, while never truly brilliant, always was absolutely solid, you could always rely on Pranjic to take care of business. Now he’s not needed anymore. Not wanted anymore. Almost ignored. Of course you can hardly blame Jupp Heynckes for that. Why let him play when you have the same only 11 years younger with David Alaba? So the announcement that the player and the club would part ways at the end of the season, when his contract expires, was no surprise, not to say inevitable. Heynckes’ decision that nobody can leave the club during the winter break also made sense, let’s not forget that Bayern’s squad is one of the smallest around.
But Heynckes’ mind has changed, apparently. It is reported that Danijel Pranjic came to an agreement with Everton. Exactly the kind of club he should play for, perfect for his abilities. The coach allegedly agreed and thought letting Pranjic go wouldn’t be a massive loss and also the right thing to do since the player always gave it everything and played wherever the coaches wanted him to play (left-back, central midfield, left midfield, offensive midfield, occasionally even right midfield) without complaining.
So why did the deal not happen? Because Karl-Heinz Rummenigge asked for €2m, that’s why. Quite an amount for a club like Everton (yes, there are Premier League clubs that aren’t wealthy). And this is exactly what I disagree with. Had Rummenigge said that nobody leaves the club, I might’ve understood it, although it’s already debatable if he should have any say and overrule the coach’s opinion that the squad would be good enough even without Pranjic. That however is not what he said. This wasn’t a fundamental decision, it wasn’t about whether the squad is big enough or not. This was just about money.
Almost exactly a year ago, Mark van Bommel left Bayern to join Milan. The new club didn’t have to pay a cent. Half a year earlier, Luca Toni joined Genoa. Again, Bayern didn’t ask for any fee. These are the moments that make Bayern different, that underline the mentality of being a family instead of a football club. The players worked hard for years, now they’re not needed anymore, so let them go for free instead of risking that a potential deal fails because of the fee being too high. Basically, a little “thank you for your services”. One million more or less don’t matter that much in Munich, not to mention that you save money by not having to pay the player’s salary anymore. A perfect win-win situation.
Why did it not happen this time? I have no explanation. Pranjic will leave the club in July, everybody knows this. It would be a surprise if he makes it past 500 minutes this season. This was a perfect opportunity to get rid of an unneeded employee who gets paid a respectable amount of money every year while being anything but ungrateful. Danijel Pranjic paid almost €1m of the transfer fee back then because Heerenveen asked for more than Bayern was ready to give and, now that his career in Munich is over, Rummenigge thinks it’s a good idea to ask for €2m? (Which, by the way, unless my information is inaccurate, isn’t less than what the club will now have to pay him as salary)
You could’ve saved money. You could’ve proved that you’re more than just another club, that your employees matter. You could’ve made a man happy by increasing his chances to play at what might be one of his last major international tournaments. Instead, you decide that you want another 2m. You go crazy over what is basically just peanuts for this club. You let the greed rule. Simply put: you did not act Bayern-like.