Bayern eyeing even brighter future by signing Fiete Arp
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich is trying to ensure its future looks even brighter by capturing another rising star.
Bayern has completed the deal it agreed on last offseason by signing 19-year-old Fiete Arp, the Bild newspaper reports. It just remains to be seen whether Arp joins Bayern after this season or in 2020, when his contract with Hamburger SV expires.
"He's a great talent, a good player," Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic acknowledged in Berlin late Wednesday, when he did all but confirm the transfer.
Bayern is reportedly paying Hamburg 2.5 million euros ($2.85 million) for Arp.
His signing continues the club's recent policy of snapping up young players before they reach their full potential, such as Canadian teen Alphonso Davies and French defender Benjamin Pavard, or the likes of Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman.
Dubbed "Germany's answer to Harry Kane," Arp came to prominence as Germany captain at the European Under-17 Championship in Croatia in 2017. Arp scored the quickest hat trick in tournament history in 12 minutes against Bosnia and Herzegovina, grabbed another hat trick against Ireland, and scored another goal against the Netherlands before Germany eventually lost to eventual champion Spain in the semifinals.
Hamburg's bid to avoid relegation last season rested largely on Arp's young shoulders. Still in school, he became the first player born in this millennium to play in the Bundesliga, and also the first to score there, but he was unable to prevent Hamburg's eventual relegation.
Hamburg is on its way straight back to the Bundesliga as second-division leader but Arp has endured a frustrating season so far with just 11 league appearances, seven of those as a substitute.
Arp failed to score at all in 2018. It's possible all the attention and pressure took its toll.
"I don't know at all whether the year 2018 did so much on a sporting level," Arp told the club magazine HSVlive in December. "I wasn't able to concentrate properly for a long time. The sporting side was not as central in too many important phases as it should have been."
Despite going a year without a goal, Arp tried to remain positive.
"I score in training. I haven't un-learned it," he said.
Hamburg sporting director Ralf Becker defended the player who joined the club at age 10.
"With all the hype there was about him a year ago, we shouldn't forget that he's still a very young player," Becker told Kicker magazine. "It's clear, both he and we as a club expected the first half of the season to go differently. But the expectations of him are ridiculously high."
On Tuesday, Arp played a full game for the first time since December 2017 when he helped Hamburg beat Nuremberg 1-0 in the German Cup.