Bayer Leverkusen have completed an impressive late charge in the Bundesliga which sees them secure fourth spot in the table, and by extension, Champions League football for the coming season. They were able to do so thanks in part to stumbles by Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt, but a key architect of their revival is Peter Bosz, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, who took over at Leverkusen in December.
Leverkusen’s feat could have ripple effects in the transfer dealings of other clubs this summer. Julian Brandt, who has long been linked to Liverpool as well as other potential suitors, was tipped to depart this summer, due to a release clause suspected to be in the tantalizingly modest region of £21.5 million. With Leverkusen’s qualification for the Champions League, that release clause will no longer be activated.
In addition to Brandt’s potential price tag now going up, the player himself also has less of an incentive to seek greener pastures. Sporting Director Rudi Völler was unsurprisingly much more optimistic about retaining not only Brandt’s services, but also those of another hot property, Kai Havertz.
“A decision will be made in the next five, six, seven days; now that we’ve reached the Champions League, we have reason to be hopeful,” said Völler to Sky Sport News, noting that he estimates the odds of Brandt’s departure at fifty-fifty.
Völler’s other comments also suggested that Leverkusen are in close contact with Brandt’s people about the player’s plans.
“We know exactly which clubs have come knocking, and we know where [Brandt] won’t go.”
Regarding Havertz, Völler indicated that there have been “no discussions” and that “he is a wonderful footballer, but he’s only 19 years old.”
Liverpool had been considering Brandt as a wide option, before circumstances led them to Sadio Mané instead. There were suggestions that the Reds might return to Brandt as cover for a number of attacking positions. Klopp might still be inquiring with Leverkusen this summer, but the terms of any such acquisition will now look a lot different.