Bundesliga chief reveals how Leeds United ‘enabled’ German club to achieve transfer target
Leeds’ summer transfer activity has seen a host of first-team players arrive at Elland Road, including former Spain Under-21 international Marc Roca.
The former Espanyol man had been dropped to German giants Bayern Munich after sealing a 2020 move to the Bundesliga champions.
Due to the wealth of talent within coach Julian Nagelsmann’s squad, Roca had been limited to appearances off the bench, brief appearances in stoppage time and the occasional start in Bavaria.
Therefore, Leeds’ decision to sign the 25-year-old was somewhat of a risk given his lack of playing time over the past 18 months, but so far the defensive midfielder is acclimating well to the Premier League.
Speaking to The Athletic about the summer transfer window, Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić explained how Leeds’ deal to sign Roca suited all parties, while allowing Bayern achieve their transfer goals.
“For us it was clear during the pandemic that we would buy players who would give us the option to sell them if it didn’t work out for them.
“A player like Marc Roca may not have arrived here, but he’s still a very good and interesting player, a starter for Leeds United, helping them beat Chelsea.
“Generating these sales has allowed us to bring in some of the best players and build a squad complete enough for everyone to play a role,” Salihamidžić said.
The Bosnian freely admits that Roca’s move to Bayern didn’t work out for either side.
“The former Bayern and Juventus midfielder [Salihamidžić] was blamed for an uninspired transfer policy during the pandemic when Bayern attempted to supplement their squad’s central unit with relatively cheap imports which mostly failed,” writes Raphael Honigstein of The Athletic, making partial reference to Roca’s unfortunate transfer.
Signed for €9million in October 2020, he made just 11 appearances in his debut season at the Allianz Arena, the vast majority of which came from the bench.
Roca started mostly in low profile matches, such as a FIFA Club World Cup semi-final against Egyptian side El Ahly, and in the first and second rounds of the DFB Pokal – the German version of the FA Cup – against lower league opposition 1. FC Düren and Holstein Kiel.
His second season would bring even fewer minutes on the pitch. In total, Roca’s playing time in Munich amounted to less than 1,000 minutes, a figure he is almost guaranteed to surpass at Elland Road if he stays fit.
Bayern offloaded a consumable player in need of regular action, to a side whose defensive midfield pivot was set to come off Elland Road – agreeing a mutually beneficial transfer for the player and the players. two clubs.