Proving they are no laughing stock will be on Manchester United’s to-do list in Munich on Wednesday when they take on Bayern.
For some club members and the thousands of traveling fans, it will feel like they’ve been battling the Bundesliga champions all summer, even though they haven’t played a professional match against each other since 2014.
The transfer window was the time when European rivals went head-to-head against the biggest names in the game and it was a fight United lost.
They even tried to sign players from Bayern, but were unsuccessful as the German giants repeatedly hit and embarrassed their Premier League foes.
From Harry Kane to Leon Goretzka, Bayern continued to win the tug-of-war as issues surrounding United’s proposed sale hampered the ability to plan ahead.
And that seems to be showing given the slow start to the season where the club has so far failed to build on the initial success of Erik ten Hag’s first season.
It was hoped that a few additions in key positions would at least help them challenge for the title after winning the Carabao Cup and qualifying for the Champions League. Now some of those failures might haunt them…
One of the most talked about transfers of the summer was that of Tottenham’s all-time goalscorer Kane leaving Spurs for Bayern.
The England striker was bought for £86million by the German champions in mid-August – a record fee for Bayern and the Bundesliga – but Bayern were by no means the only club interested in signing Kane as he enters the final year of his Spurs contract.
Man United had been heavily linked with the striker, as they were desperate for a No.9 following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in January and the end of Wout Weghorst’s loan spell. However, Man United withdrew from the race after being excluded.
Instead, Man United bought Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta. It will certainly be interesting to see how the two strikers get along when the two teams meet.
Kim Min Jae
It’s a similar story when it comes to former Napoli defender Kim Min-jae, who played a key role in Napoli’s Serie A victory last season, where he made 43 appearances.
The South Korean has also attracted interest from fellow Champions League side Newcastle.
Ten Hag were keen to activate the centre-back’s £42m release clause, however, Bayern swooped in to snap up yet another of Ten Hag’s key targets, signing him for £42m.
Meanwhile, Man United have signed former defender Jonny Evans, bringing him in for free from relegated Leicester.
Man United also lost out on the signing of a Bayern star as the Bundesliga club decided to sell him to another European giant.
With time running out and after failing to sign Kim, Man United wanted to bring in Benjamin Pavard to strengthen their options in central defense.
He even commented on Raphael Varane’s Instagram photo after his late winner against Wolves in the opening match with flame emojis.
But two weeks later, the French international took pen to paper with Inter Milan – another missed goal for Ten Hag and co thanks to Bayern.
Pavard also wasn’t the only Bayern star the Bundesliga side decided to sell elsewhere despite interest from Man United.
Except this time, Thomas Tuchel’s team sold one of the Red Devils’ targets to a rival: Liverpool.
Man United wanted to add more depth to the midfield following Fred’s departure, and with Gravenberch looking for regular first-team football, the move seemed to line up perfectly.
However, Liverpool’s long-term interest in the midfielder and the absence of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia at Chelsea saw them secure Gravenberch over their rivals. Not exactly the result Man United would have hoped for…
Another Bayern midfielder was on Man United’s radar this summer: Goretzka.
Man United are long-time admirers of the German, first expressing interest in 2021.
But although the five-time Bundesliga champion would feature in Tuchel’s starting XI plans and therefore create a golden opportunity for the Red Devils to sign him, Goretzka remains at the club.
Reports suggested the German giants would let the 28-year-old leave for the right price, but the midfielder later said: “I have no intention of leaving Bayern. I love the club, I I love the city, I love the fans.”
Listen to the full Bayern Munich v Manchester United commentary live on talkSPORT, kick-off 8pm.
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