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Kovac still scanning horizon for fresh Bayern blood

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Bayern Munich’s Croatian headcoach Niko Kovac (L) poses with the football club’s new recruit, Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic, at Bayern Munich’s headquarters in Munich, southern Germany, on August 14, 2019. – Bayern Munich has signed Inter Milan and Croatia winger Ivan Perisic on a one-year loan deal. (Photo by Daniel Kopatsch / POOL / AFP)

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac said Wednesday his side was still open to bringing in some fresh blood before the European transfer window closes.

“We still have to strengthen — we still need something,” Kovac told a press conference two days before Friday’s Bundesliga opener at home to Hertha Berlin.

Sat alongside Kovac was compatriot Ivan Perisic, the winger Bayern captured from Inter Milan, announced on a year-long loan Tuesday.

Kovac expressed satisfaction with the arrival of Perisic.

“But we know he can get injured — we have to be ready for this possibility. We need players to reinforce and improve the squad,” he said ahead of the window shutting on September 2.

Bayern has countered the departure of Mats Hummels to title rivals Borussia Dortmund with the arrivals of French World Cup-winners Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart and Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid.

But in the attack, the Bavarians have to look to fill the gaps created by the losses of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, and James Rodriguez.

Perisic will add width alongside Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, but Bayern needs greater depth if they are to compete both domestically and in Europe.

Names cited in the media for more attacking oomph include Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, Steven Bergwijn of PSV Eindhoven or even Gareth Bale, who is unsettled at Real Madrid.

Kovac said such stories were mere “rumours”.

Before Perisic’s signing, striker Robert Lewandowski had loudly been demanding the club bring in “three players or more” as “going through a season with 13 or 14 experienced professionals will be tough”.

“We have 50 to 60 matches. You mustn’t just think of next week but the next three, four, five, six months. And for that, we don’t have enough players.”

Kovac meanwhile shrugged off media claims that Croatian World Cup runner-up Perisic was a “plan B” option after reports that Bayern wanted Manchester City forward Leroy Sane, now out for the bulk of the season after sustaining a knee injury in the Community Shield.

“I too was a plan B — and we won the double of league and cup,” said Kovac in allusion to his portrayal as a second-rank option to replace veteran coach Jupp Heynckes in the hot seat.


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