Should Bayern have signed Coutinho permanently?

Where are they now? Niko Kovac’s 8 signings as Bayern Munich manager

It flies under the radar due to their domestic dominance, but being the manager of Bayern Munich is no slouch and the pressure to succeed has cracked many top managers.

Niko Kovac was awarded German football’s top job in the summer of 2018 after his brilliant exploits with Eintracht Frankfurt, winning them the DFB-Pokal and taking over in Bavaria ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, becoming just the fourth-ever former player to take charge of the club.

A league and cup double in the 2018-19 season was a good start, but their record in Europe under Kovac was poor and the pressure mounted too much by November 2019, with the Croatian vacating his post after losing 5-1 to former club Frankfurt.

He only signed eight players during his time in charge of Bayern, but it was quite a thrilling shopping list. We’ve checked in on where his signings are now.

Leon Goretzka

The first signing of the Kovac era was a rather routine one, with Bayern hoovering up the top German talent in the league that wasn’t already at the club; Goretzka signed from Schalke in a deal that had been agreed in January 2018.

After initially struggling to settle in, the midfielder’s physical traits were used to their best ability by Hansi Flick – Kovac’s replacement – as they went on to win the treble in 2019-20.

Goretzka had been linked with a move away from the club in the last few years, but has been a key player once again in 2023-24.

Award ceremony, jubilation Thomas MUELLER (Muller, M) with the championship trophy, cup, football 1st Bundesliga, 34th matchday, FC Cologne (K) - FC Bayern Munich (M) 1: 2, on May 27th, 2023 in Koeln/ Germany.

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Alphonso Davies

Kovac and Bayern completed an exceptionally shrewd piece of business in the summer of 2018 when they snapped up Davies from the Vancouver Whitecaps, the then-teenage winger heading to Germany in January 2019.

Davies quickly went from promising winger to possibly the most electric full-back in world football at Bayer, flourishing after a year or so when he was forced to deputise for the injured David Alaba at left-back in 2019-20.

He proved key to their treble win under Flick and has been electric ever since.

Still only 23, Davies’ current deal expires in the summer of 2025 and it’s believed that Real Madrid are keen on completing a deal at a cut-price, and Bayern will sell if the Canadian doesn’t agree to fresh terms before this summer.

Lucas Hernandez

Despite coming through the academy at Atletico Madrid, Hernandez left in the summer of 2019 when Bayern coughed up a club-record €80million to sign him.

He won the treble in his first season, but things went downhill after that due to long injury layoffs and managerial changes.

Their record signing left in the summer of 2023, returning to his home country of France to sign for Paris Saint-Germain in a €40million deal. Not great business.

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Benjamin Pavard

Jumping ship from relegated Stuttgart, Pavard proved crucial as a versatile option at the back for Bayern when signing in 2019 – a year after his World Cup screamer – without ever setting the world alight.

He made 47 appearances in their outstanding 2019-20 campaign and continued to prove crucial as both a centre-back and full-back, but left in 2023 to join Inter after being linked to Manchester United to seemingly no end.

The Frenchman has taken like a duck to water in Simone Inzaghi’s side, making 27 appearances in all competitions so far as Inter charge towards the Scudetto.

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Jann-Fiete Arp

Signed as a promising youngster from Hamburg, Arp’s honours list technically includes the Champions League and Bundesliga, though he only made a single senior appearance in the DFB Pokal during that historic campaign.

The German forward spent 2019-20 developing his skills in Bayern’s B Team, with whom he helped win the 3. Liga (third tier). He’s since been sold to Holstein Kiel, with whom he’s currently chasing promotion in the Bundesliga II.

Ivan Perisic

Having won the treble while on loan with Bayern in 2019-20, Perisic returned to the fold at Inter and kicked on to become an important player under Antonio Conte as the Nerazzurri won the Scudetto in 2020-21.

He stayed at the San Siro for another year after that and then reunited with Conte at Tottenham, although only featured in the Italian coach’s fairly miserable final year in London.

The veteran’s been out of action since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee back in September. He rejoined boyhood club Hajduk Split on loan in January but is yet to make his long-awaited debut for the club as he continues his rehabilitation.

The Croatian giants have announced that they’ve signed him up on a permanent deal for next season after his contract with Spurs expires in the summer.

Michael Cuisance

Micky Croissants, as he was dubbed by Leeds fans after a failed Elland Road medical back in 2020, never really got much of a look-in at Bayern.

He made three Bundesliga starts in the 2019-20 campaign before an unremarkable loan to Marseille and returned to make a further two brief substitute appearances.

The French midfielder was eventually sold to Venezia in January 2022. He remains on the Italian club’s books but is currently plying his trade back in Germany, on loan at Osnabruck… a side who are rock bottom of the Bundesliga II. Ouch.

Philippe Coutinho

As Die Roten pushed hard to return to the top of the European mountain, they secured the loan signing of Coutinho who had failed to hit the heights at Barcelona following a big-money move.

Coutinho enjoyed a relatively successful season in Munich and famously scored twice against parent club Barcelona in an 8-2 thrashing on the way to winning the treble, but Bayern – unsurprisingly – opted against activating a €120million buyout clause to make the deal permanent.

After a brief return to Barcelona and a sale to Aston Villa which quickly backfired for the Villans, Coutinho joined Qatari side Al-Duhail on loan for 2023-24.