The unexpected bookend to yesterday’s surprising transfer of Marcell Jansen to Hamburg is Bayern’s acquisition of right back Massimo Oddo on a season-long loan from AC Milan. The 32-year old brings both international class and a warm body to shore up the team’s dangerously thin defense. According to Bayern’s general manager, Uli Hoeneß, the team had kept tabs on Oddo for six days before making their move. “We believe,” Hoeneß said, “that he is a player who can help us.” Not exactly informative, but the underlying message is clear. The goal set out by Klinsmann upon his arrival was to translate domestic dominance into European success. A Champions League-winner like Oddo would know how to handle the biggest matches and perform well (consistently!) in high-pressure situations.
That being said the move is, in my estimation, an odd one. While Bayern acquired a World Cup- and Champions League-winning defender, they replaced a 22-year old starlet with a player 10 years his senior. This is clearly not a long-term solution and begs the question, “What is the solution?” or rather, more specifically, “What is Christian Lell to do?” Is this move designed to give Lell another year to develop? Or is he destined to be an eternal backup (formerly to Sagnol now to Oddo), at least until he leaves Munich?