Chelsea are the latest Premier League club reported to be chasing Germany forward Thomas Mueller, but as far as Bayern Munich are concerned their maverick star is ‘irreplacable’. According to UK media reports, Jose Mourinho’s Blues want to sign Mueller to replace Diego Costa, hardly surprising given the German’s current goal-scoring prowess.
Mueller netted Bayern’s opener in Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Hertha Berlin to claim his 13th league goal, just four months into the season. It means he has scored in each of his last five competitive outings, taking his astonishing personal haul to 20 goals in 21 outings in all competitions in 2015/16.
In a single season, he has never scored more than his current tally of 13 Bundesliga goals — which has come after only 14 matches. Still just 26, Mueller already has a World Cup winners medal in his collection and can play on the wing or as a striker, as he proved by scoring a hat-trick against Portugal at the 2014 World Cup.
Bayern have tied Mueller up with a contract until June 2019 and he has an estimated market value of 75 million euros ($79.55m), but the sky’s the limit in terms of what a Premier League club would potentially have to pay for him. “Thomas Mueller embodies everything which distinguishes FC Bayern Munich,” enthused the club’s director of sport Matthias Sammer.
“He is an absolute role model, an absolute gem and he’s irreplaceable.” Mueller is not your typical footballer, who tends to be more interested in fast cars and supermodel girlfriends. Mueller got married shortly after his 20th birthday in November 2009, his wife Lisa is a successful equestrian rider and at the last count, the couple have seven horses. Mueller has even tried his hand at horse breeding.
He insists he is just an average guy and his name is so typically German that 700,000 countrymen share the same combination, except the Bayern Star has nearly nine million followers on Facebook. The joker of the team, whether playing for Germany or Bayern, Mueller is more likely to be seen pulling a face or pranking a team-mate than boarding the team bus wearing the trademark oversized headphones most footballers prefer.
Bastian Schweinsteiger famously quipped that the best thing about joining Manchester United at the start of the season is that he “wouldn’t have to travel with Thomas Mueller anymore” to Bayern’s away matches. But Mueller’s trademark talent is for being in the right place at the right time, which has attracted the interest of England’s top clubs.
“He just has the nose for it and knows exactly where the ball will land,” said Germany captain Schweinsteiger. Mueller is the first to admit that he is not the fastest in a sprint, “but I’m pretty good over 10kms”, in reference to his high work rate during matches.
Since breaking into the Bayern team in August 2008, he has often shown a maturity and level-headed approach beyond his years, which is juxtaposed by his taste for clowning around. “I gave no thoughts to the recent past. I am not a guy who is haunted by fear,” he said after spending a fraught night with the Germany team in the Stade de France changing rooms during the Paris terror attacks on November 13.
This is not the first time a Premier League club has been linked to Mueller. In September, Bayern received an offer from Manchester United which chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge would only describe as ‘very high’, just weeks after making it clear the Germany star was not for sale.
The German media speculated that the United offer was in the region of 100 million euros, which soon prompted a new nickname for Mueller, when a fan shouted “Hey 100 million man, what is your shirt worth?” “It’s basically crazy the sums which are thrown around in football, but that’s just the business,” Mueller said at the time.
“Nobody is worth 100 million euros, but it’s just a transaction.” But former Bayern and Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaeus has warned Mueller to ignore the attention from England and says he should end his career in the Bundesliga. And in terms of Bayern allowing their star player to leave the club, as Rummenigge put it in September, “the door remains closed”.