Bayern München have secured the services of 22-year-old central defender Jan Kirchhoff from FSV Mainz 05, aiding their patchy defence in the process. The promising youngster left on a free and will most likely join Bayern in the summer of this year.
Kirchhoff has clearly got the skill set that Bayern both need and like. He's young, always a good start, has great technique and is one of many German defenders on the cusp of an international call up. Arguably, had he been born in any other nation he would have been fully capped by now. The 17 appearances for the U21s (3 goals) will have to do for now.
The big concern, as it so often is for those players on the cusp of top-level ability, is how often he will play. Jerome Boateng's performances this season have all but earned him a ticket out of Bavaria come the summer and with Holger Badstuber injured for an extended period of time, Daniel Van Buyten is hardly the answer. In fact, the Belgian may also be surplus to requirements now that Franck Ribery has finally started to peak. With Dante asserting himself as Bayern's number one defender, Kirchhoff's arrival does suggest that aside from Badstuber, Bayern feel they don't have adequate cover in the centre of defence.
Well, given the amount of time that most Bundesliga opponents allow Bayern's back line to have, the integration of Kirchhoff seems only logical. The Champions League is another matter but there is no doubt Kirchhoff is capable, even if not quite yet. He is a towering figure at 6ft 5in and with his aerial strength he very much fits the mould of FCB.
Much like Holtby, Kirchhoff has made a bold move. There's no doubt that the lure of a club like Bayern is difficult to resist, particularly when you consider the hike in earnings. However, to earning is one thing, playing is what it's about. Or at least, it should be. Still, let's not get too cynical too soon. Kirchhoff may well become the new defensive figure Bayern (and Dante) have been waiting for since they foolish mistook Mats Hummels for 'just another centre back'. Fingers crossed.