For many football supporters the contract extension of some of their clubs’ best players is probably the best Christmas gift they could have hoped for and there were plenty of those all around the league this week. The seemingly endless transfer saga over Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar may finally have come to an end while Bayern and Gladbach continued to build on their good foundation.
Bayern extend Thomas Müller contract
The name Müller has been in the headlines quite a bit this season. With Lionel Messi chasing and eventually breaking Gerd Müller’s record the Bayern legend was in the press without even kicking a ball. His namesake, Thomas, meanwhile has been in fantastic form this season and a big part of Bayern Munich’s record breaking Hinrunde. The versatile attacker has been involved in 23 goals in all competitions for the record champions as Bayern topped their Champions League group and go into the winter break with an unprecedented 12 point lead over defending champions Dortmund.
The 23 year old signed a contract keeping him at Bayern until 2017 after signing a two year extension. For the club it was particularly important to hold on to their homegrown players explained Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “He was trained here and has developed into a very important player. We’re very happy to have extended his contract by two years. It’s further proof of how much Thomas Müller is a part of FC Bayern Munich.”
Is the Huntelaar saga finally coming to an end?
After months of speculation, no doubt intensified by Schalke’s recent poor form and Huub Steven’s sacking, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is reportedly close to putting pen to paper and extending his contract. According to information from German publication kicker the Dutch striker is just details away from making it official. Huntelaar was last year’s top scorer in the league and while he may not be as prolific this season it was important for the club to be able to hold on to him to compete in multiple competitions going forward.
His teammate Lewis Holtby is also expected to make a decision this month with after rumors linking him with a move to England, his father’s country of birth. With his contract running out at the end of the season his extension too will be vital for the future of the club.
Gladbach build on foundation
After losing three key players in the summer sporting director Max Eberl want to build on the foundation laid by Lucien Favre in the last year and signed Havard Nordtveit and Martin Stranzl to new contracts. Stranzl, who was pondering retirement, reconsidered and penned a new deal that will keep him at the club for another season. The veteran Austrian defender has been an important part of Gladbach’s season as they looked to stabilize following their turnover in the summer. With nearly 75% Stranzl has the highest percentage of challenges won in the league this year and has been in impressive form going into the winter break. Stranzl is key in helping develop a budding young team as Eberl pointed out, “Martin is an important leadership figure in our young team. It thrills us that he decided to reconsider retirement to stay with us for another year.”
His teammate Nordteit too is important in maintaining a sense of continuity at the club and has played 80 competitive matches for the club in all competitions since joining from Arsenal in 2011. The 22 year old signed a two year extension that will keep him at the club until 2016. After the departure of Roman Neustädter in the summer the Norwegian midfielder has become an important player for the team and one of the most consistent figures this season.
Header courtesy of Ulmer
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