We need young players, says Bayern coach Kovac

Wednesday January 9 2019

 

Doha. Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac admitted Saturday his team needed "young players", amid speculation the German champions have launched a 33-million-euro bid for Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Kovac, speaking at Bayern's annual winter training camp in Qatar, refused to confirm or deny the club's interest in the 18-year-old English star but conceded changes were needed.

"We always need young players," said Kovac.

"It is my job and the job of (Bayern Munich sporting director) Hasan Salihamidzic to change the team as the team does not get any younger."

He added: "If a player is good it doesn't matter how old he is.

"We are looking for younger talented players but also players who are ready because the young talented players need time to develop."

Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola has said Bayern are "very interested" in the teenager, whose has been with the Londoners since 2007 but is stalling on a new contract.

Hudson-Odoi is seen as a potential rising star of the English game and was a member of the England Under-17 team which won the World Cup in 2017.

But it is claimed he wants to play more -- he has only played three times for Chelsea's first team -- and may be persuaded by the example of another young English winger Jadon Sancho who is thriving at Bundesliga league leaders Dortmund since deciding to leave Manchester City.

Under-pressure Kovac needs to reinvigorate Bayern and replace many of the team's long-standing stars who are approaching the end of their careers.

Two of those players, veterans Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery,  have announced they will finish their careers at the end of this season.

Bayern currently stand second in the Bundesliga, six points behind Dortmund.

However, Bayern, who have every Bundesliga championship since 2013 won all of their five league games in December to put some pressure on their rivals.

Kovac said he was confident that the club would continue its recent good form into the new year, and sustain a title challenge.

"We have the players to deliver a very good second half of the season and beat Dortmund," he added.

Bayern will also meet English league leaders Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League in February.

The club, which is sponsored by Qatar Airways, will be in the Gulf until January 10.

Bayern are one of 10 domestic teams from Europe and Asia which will hold a winter training camp in the World Cup 2022 host.

Others include PSV Eindhoven, Club Brugge, Persepolis and Qatari-owned French champions, Paris Saint-Germain.

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