Former Hoffenheim manager Ralf Rangnick has revealed that the club came incredibly close to sealing bargain deals for Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Holger Badstuber from Bayern Munich back in 2008.
At that time, both Müller and Badstuber were yet to make their senior debut, while Hummels had just to brief senior appearances to his name.
All three would go on to become Germany internationals and core parts of the Bayern senior setup, with Müller and Badtstuber remaining with the club for the majority of their careers, but Rangnick revealed to Sport1 that they could have been shining for Hoffenheim if he had got his wish.
“In 2008, we agreed with Thomas Müller and his advisor Ludwig Kögl and absolutely wanted to borrow him at that time,” Rangnick revealed.
“We could have signed Müller for €3m. Uli Hoeneß relayed this amount to the then-manager Jan Schindelmeiser at the time. However, [Bayern assistant] Hermann Gerland vetoed it and so Müller stayed with Bayern. At that time we were also in advanced talks with Holger Badstuber.”
Müller remains at Bayern to this day, having made 521 appearances for the club, while Badstuber chimed in with 177 of his own before leaving for Schalke in 2017.
As for Hummels, he did leave Bayern in 2008, instead joining Borussia Dortmund on loan with a view to a permanent move. He did return for a spell between 2016 and 2019 but has since returned to Dortmund.
“It was similar with [Hummels] at the beginning of 2008. We also wanted to bring him in on loan and there was already an agreement,” Rangnick said.
“However, Uli Hoeneß put his foot down with Hummels. He didn’t want him to be loaned to Hoffenheim but to Dortmund.”
Instead of signing the three future stars, Hoffenheim had to settle for the likes of, erm… Andreas Beck?
They did actually manage to land Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Corinthians that year, and they sold him on to Bayern for a huge profit just a few years later, so at least they got some form of revenge.
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