Bayern Munich’s scramble to find an adequate stand-in for Manuel Neuer following his skiing accident in December could have been avoided if Alexander Nübel had been prepared to act as a number two in Bavaria. Long seen as Neuer’s ultimate successor at the Allianz Arena, it now looks likely that the 26-year-old is going to have to make a stark choice this summer, or risk his career stalling.
The goalkeeper’s loan spell at Monaco is coming to an end this summer and having made it abundantly clear he is not prepared to return to Bayern as an understudy and with the French side also not ready to commit to signing him on a permanent deal, a solution to the Nübel conundrum needs to be found.
Ruling out a return to Bayern is one thing, but it would have been better to have not fallen out of favour at Monaco in terms of career progression. The Monegasques are currently fourth in Ligue 1 but have conceded 54 goals (the most out of any of the top ten in the league).
The current loan deal with the South coast club does not contain an option to buy and based on current circumstances, it is unlikely the French side are going to look to keep the German keeper at the club. A return to Bayern therefore looks the next move, but in terms of his career, it will only be a short stop in Bavaria as he will be in all likelihood be sold outright in the summer.
A player of his reputation and calibre would surely have an eye on becoming the German number one and even appearing at the European Championships on home soil, so his next move could be vital. He’s been treading water for far too long in France and needs to progress to the next stage.
A return to Germany with a club other than Bayern could be an option but where? Looking at the league now, it is hard to see who would need him (Gregor Kobel being tempted away from Dortmund could help). The Premier League are always ready to throw money around so finding a club in England could be easier, but would it serve his long-term ambitions?
Whatever the outcome, Manuel Neuer will come back as Bayern’s number one and Nübel will not be prepared to sit in his shadow. The player’s agent has to earn his crust this summer to get the best possible destination for his client. Neuer’s heir is at a vital crossroads- the next choice could be hugely significant for both him and Germany’s long-term goalkeeping future.