Despite both clubs being at the top of their respective leagues for decades, players moving to Manchester United from Bayern Munich are a rare commodity.
Mark Hughes spent time on loan at the Bundesliga giants during his brief flirtation with Barcelona between spells at Old Trafford, but more recently only Owen Hargreaves and Bastian Schweinsteiger have traded the red jersey of Bayern for the slightly different shade at Old Trafford.
As the Premier League transfer window reached its final stages, it looked like another name might join that elite group, with United hoping that World Cup winner Jerome Boateng might be the answer to their centre-back dilemma. However, both the player and club had other ideas. Boateng informed Jose Mourinho by telephone that he would not be joining the Red Devils, while Bayern were uninterested in United’s £22 million ($28m) offer or loan approach for the 29-year-old.
With PSG also interested in the centre-back , Bayern felt United’s offer was half the amount they wanted for the six-time Bundesliga winner. This meant Mourinho missed out on another of his defensive targets as the transfer window closed, with Yerry Mina joining Everton and Harry Maguire staying at Leicester , leaving the Red Devils short of a new central defender.
However, it could be a blessing in disguise for Mourinho not to have brittle Boateng follow in the footsteps of Hargreaves and Schweinsteiger, two players who saw more of the physio room at Old Trafford than the pitch.
Both Hargreaves and Schweinsteiger came to the Premier League as Champions League winners with Bayern, having helped the Bavarians to multiple domestic trophies with dominant displays in midfield.
Former England international Hargreaves impressed in his first season after joining for £17m ($21m), and played the full 120 minutes of the Champions League final win over Chelsea to add a second European Cup medal to his collection. Repeated knee problems involving multiple consultations and surgeries meant that he played just 138 minutes of Premier League football over the next three seasons before being released.
Schweinsteiger’s stint at Old Trafford proved even more disappointing. After completing a £6.5m ($8.3m) transfer in July 2015, the midfielder became the first German player to play for Man Utd. He was booked shortly after coming on as a substitute in his debut, which was a sign of things to come, as he went on to pick up a three-match ban in December for hitting Winston Reid in the throat during a game with West Ham.
He fell out of favour with new manager Mourinho, playing just three cup games and one Champions League game in his second season, not even getting a minute of action in the Premier League before being allowed to leave for Major League Soccer.
Boateng’s recent injury history indicates that he may have been just as frustrating and frustrated at Old Trafford as his predecessors, with the Germany international also having a history of injury problems. For the last three seasons, he has failed to play more than 20 league games in a single campaign, appearing just 19 times in the 2017-18 Bundesliga season which was bookended by hamstring injuries.
The fact that Bayern Munich were willing to sell him indicates that Boateng is no longer a key part of their plans for the future. When fit, he is a world-class defender, but in Mats Hummels and Niklas Sule new coach Niko Kovac already has a brilliant pairing for the short and long-term in Munich.
Unlike Robert Lewandowski, who had also angled for a move away from Munich, Bayern were happy to let Boateng leave, with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claiming “we have enough players at this position, even if Jerome leaves.”
Boateng would have been an excellent addition for Manchester United, but only if he could remain fit – something which is a huge doubt with the defender turning 30 in September. The Red Devils already have plenty of injury-prone defenders and do not need another expensive player sitting on the sidelines.
In fact, it looks as if Boateng will remain at Allianz Arena this season, with PSG having turned their attentions to Germany Under-21 defender Thilo Kehrer, who is set to move to the Ligue 1 giants for €37m (£33m/$42m).
Boateng was absent from the 4-0 DFL Super Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt, where Lewandowski scored three times and looked comfortable despite his past desire to leave. The world-class striker will be essential to Bayern again this season, but Boateng could find himself watching on as his team-mates secure more silverware, even if he can avoid injury.
But at least he will add another Bundesliga medal to his collection rather than becoming the next Schweinsteiger at Old Trafford.