It was about time tens of millions of euros were paid for a coach. A few eyebrows were raised as Bayern Munich broke the record to land Julian Nagelsmann for €25m including bonuses, but that’s even cheap in comparison to what footballers cost these days. After all, Barcelona bought Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann for over 4 times more than the hottest managerial prospect at present.
Traditional thinking sees players as club assets and managers as no more than passengers. That’s why the latter tend to get the blame and sack even for issues that are beyond their control. However, and while smaller teams make appointments in midseason with the clear target of avoiding relegation, giants can experience a revolution on many levels with their bosses. It’s much more than just about results; it’s about projects.
A player has his set conditions and can be more dependant on the context in which he arrives. But the coach provides the context, the style, the philosophy, can develop talents and youngsters which has an invaluable price and a lasting effect, and eventually all this mix can bring about better collective results and successes that are remembered for a long time.
The likes of Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, also Nagelsmann, can transform clubs, players and the cultures in which they arrive. It should be completely sensible that they were valued as high as, or higher than, big-name stars. If Bayern believe Nagelsmann can lead them to a new historic era, I would go as far as to say: maybe he should be worth more than Erling Haland.