Chelsea and Manchester United have been dealt a blow after Juan Bernat completed a big-money move to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on Monday. The Spain Under-21 international was one of Valencia’s star performers last season and has opted to join revered former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.
The 21-year-old defender is believed to have cost Bayern Munich around €10 million - and will battle it out with Austria international David Alaba for the left-back position from the start of the 2014/15 campaign. Also capable of playing on the left flank, he will train with his new teammates for the first time this Thursday, and has been handed the number 18 shirt.
Jordi Alba comparisons
Because Bernat is a young, Spanish left-back from Valencia, the comparisons with Barcelona and Spain star Jordi Alba were inevitable. Alba, now 25, made his name at the Mestalla before completing a dream move to the Camp Nou in 2012, during the same summer Guardiola left the Catalan giants.
It’s believed that Guardiola had a say in Alba joining Barcelona, so the fact the Bayern Munich boss has opted to strengthen his squad with the acquisition of Bernat should come as little surprise.
However, Guardiola already has the aforementioned Alaba in his ranks. The 22-year-old is widely regarded as one of Europe’s best young full-backs, although he is capable of playing as a holding midfielder - a position he may find himself deployed in on occasions at the Allianz Arena next season.
Chelsea miss out on potential world-class left-back
Manchester United recently added England international Luke Shaw to their ranks, so missing out on Bernat is unlikely to concern Louis van Gaal, even if the Dutchman knows that he may lose Patrice Evra to Juventus in the current transfer window.
But Chelsea, who need a new left-back to replace the AS Roma-bound Ashley Cole, may have missed a trick. Jose Mourinho is keen to add Atletico Madrid full-back Filipe Luis to his ranks, but the Brazilian is seven years older than Bernat with far less potential for growth.
Mourinho could have had Bernat and Cesar Azpilicueta as his two marauding full-backs, but it’s his nemeses Guardiola who has reacted quickest to secure the former’s services this summer.
Juan Bernat: Scout report
Bernat delighted to join Bayern
Speaking to Bayern Munich’s official website, Bernat commented: "I am very happy that I will be able to play for this massive club in the future.
"I'll give everything I have for this club to succeed.”
Bayern’s sporting director, Matthias Sammer, said of Bernat: "He is quick, good in the tackle and can get forward."
Meanwhile, Bernat’s Spain Under-21 teammate, Gerard Deulofeu, tweeted: “Juan Bernat at Bayern! I'm so happy for him! Great player!”