After 18 months on the side-lines, Bayern Munich defender Holger Badstuber is finally back and raring to go. But despite an interview this week hailing a new dawn for his career, reports linking his side with a move for Ezequiel Garay could call his future into question.
Badstuber last played for Bayern in December 2012, tearing a cruciate ligament in his knee and being ruled out ever since.
In an interview with FCBayern.de, the 25-year-old revealed his excitement at finally nearing a return to first-team action.
“Finally, I’ll be able to enjoy the game again and do what I enjoy,” he said.
Although he tempered his joy with the acceptance that he will have to be patient as he builds himself up to full match fitness.
And yet Sport Bild has since reported that Pep Guardiola and Bayern’s sporting director Matthias Sammer will meet in the next fortnight to discuss transfer targets, that a new centre-back will be on the list, and that reported Manchester United target Garay could be that man.
With the likes of Dante, Jerome Boateng and Daniel Van Buyten already at the club, and Javi Martinez able to play centre-back when needed, if Garay arrives, it will be interesting to see just how many chances Badstuber is given.
The fact that he is also comfortable at left-back means he can of course offer back-up to David Alaba. But if a new defender arrives, Badstuber may have to reassess his future.
Recent reports have linked him with a move to United, with Louis van Gaal believed to be an admirer and the club in need of defensive reinforcements following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
But Bild later came out to say Badstuber owed too much to the club for standing by him during his injury, thus rendering a move highly unlikely.
And yet if Guardiola brings in yet another centre-back, Badstuber could find himself linked with the exit once more. And if he opts to take it in a bid to get the first-team football his talent deserves, it may be up to United and van Gaal to decide if he is fully over his injury and worth bringing in.
After all, at full fitness the German international is a very effective centre-back and a more than able left-back, and United could soon be seeking cover for both.