Tianjin Updates

Tianjin opens vault for Wagner

(Chinadaily)

Updated: 2019-02-01

Recent days have been exciting in Unterhaching, a picturesque town of 22,000 on the outskirts of Munich, Germany. A big decision had to be made by 31-year-old Sandro Wagner and his wife Denise.

As a result of that decision, the entire Wagner clan will move to China after the player signed for Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda, which is coached by former Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Uli Stielike.

German media reported that Wagner has signed a two-year deal worth 15 million euros ($17.25 million), and Tianjin is said to have paid a transfer fee of 5 million euros to Bayern, which confirmed the move on Wednesday.

Munich-born Wagner is one of Germany's best strikers, but he has always put his family ahead of the game. When playing for Hoffenheim and other clubs, his wife and their three children stayed home in Unterhaching.

"Why should the kids have to move all the time just because their father joins a new club?" he said.

But joining a Chinese club changes everything.

Wagner's children, Luca-Marie (7), Hugo (5) and Bruno (11 months) will follow as soon as possible, but they might have to decide who will look after the family pets-a dog and some turtles.

Several clubs attempted to sign Wagner, including English sides West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers, along with the Bundesliga's Stuttgart and Schalke. But he wasn't anxious to leave Bayern, which he first joined as a 7-year-old.

Wagner returned to Bayern 13 months ago after stints with Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin, Darmstadt and Hoffenheim. Bayern paid 13 million euros for him to act as cover for star striker Robert Lewandowski.

After a satisfactory first year that saw him score nine goals in 18 games under coach Jupp Heynckes, Wagner's situation changed for the worse under Niko Kovac. The player increasingly found himself sitting in the stands while his team was in action.

"He got a great offer, that is why we decided to satisfy his request to leave," said sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

Wagner traveled to Alicante in Spain this week to meet his new team at its preseason camp and sign a contract, opening the doors to an entirely new life.

Compatriots Stielike and defender Felix Bastians might help Wagner settle in China.

In 2013, Bastians and Wagner played together at Hertha.

Letting Wagner go is a risk for Bayern, leaving just Thomas Mueller and Serge Gnabry as credible foils for Lewandowski up front.

Bayern's bid to boost its attacking options have not gone well this month, with Chelsea rejecting a $46 million offer from the German champion for Callum Hudson-Odoi.

The Londoners seem intent on keeping the English teenager-at least until the summer-after they turned down his transfer request.

In the meantime, Bayern could reignite its interest in RB Leipzig hotshot Timo Werner, while Eintracht Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic is also believed to be on the Bavarian giant's radar.

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