Bayern have signed world-class winger Franck Ribéry on a four-year deal, unveiling the France superstar alongside €11m man Luca Toni on Thursday.
London giants Arsenal headed a posse of leading European clubs vying for the 24-year-old Marseille forward’s signature, but Ribéry revealed he had opted for the Bundesliga after extensive consultation with his national team-mate and Bayern stalwart Willy Sagnol.
The big-name newcomers were officially presented to German sports media at a news conference staged at the Arabella Sheraton Hotel in Munich. General Manager Uli Hoeneß and Finance Director Karl Hopfner introduced the star duo before handing the pair their new shirts. Ribéry takes the number seven previously worn with distinction by Mehmet Scholl, with Toni set to wear the classic number nine last occupied by goalscoring legend Giovane Elber.
Luca promises goals
Prolific goal-getter Toni, whose switch from Fiorentina to the Bavarian capital was confirmed earlier this week, promised “to repay Bayern in goals” as he pursues domestic and European honours with his new club next season.
General manager Uli Hoeneß declined to disclose the fee paid to Marseille for Ribéry, but confirmed that the club was investing “a great deal of money” in new players in a “total overhaul” of the first team squad.
The new policy represents a departure from Bayern’s cautious financial approach in recent years, but Hoeneß pointed out that a disappointing sporting season had still produced an outstanding financial result off the field, and the club will also receive a fee rumoured to be in the region of €25m for the sale of Owen Hargreaves to Manchester United.
More signings in the offing
Hoeneß revealed that the Reds’ spending spree is not yet over: Brazil star Zé Roberto is poised to return to the club, “although we still have to iron out a few details,” the official explained, and Bayern have tabled a formal offer for Bremen and Germany hitman Miroslav Klose, who still has a year on his contract with Werder. The player himself yesterday announced his intention to complete a switch to Bayern by summer 2008 at the latest, “but obviously, we’d be delighted if he joined us this summer,” Hoeneß confirmed.
Ribéry and Toni join confirmed new arrivals Marcell Jansen (Monchengladbach), Jan Schlaudraff (Aachen), Hamit Altintop (Schalke) and Jose Ernesto Sosa (Estudientes) in the new-look Bayern squad for next season. Apart from Hargreaves, the other players definitely on their way from Munich are Claudio Pizarro (Chelsea, free), Hasan Salihamidzic (Juventus, free) and Ali Karimi (destination unknown).