Munich’s Ito signing has Germany up in arms

“Stop signing rival clubs’ players again”

German Bundesliga fans are once again criticizing Bayern Munich’s signing of a key player from a rival team.

“Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart has drawn criticism from within Germany,” Japanese media outlet Tokyo Sports reported on Thursday (June 14).

“We have signed Stuttgart defender Hiroki Ito,” Bayern Munich announced on the club’s official website on Thursday, adding, “Ito has signed a contract with Munich until June 30, 2028.”

The Japanese defender, born in 1999, arrived in Europe in the summer of 2021 after leaving Jubilo Iwata of Japan’s J-League 2 to join Stuttgart. In his debut season in Europe, Ito was the first-choice defender for Stuttgart in 2021-22, making 31 appearances and playing 2,528 minutes in all competitions.

Stuttgart were so pleased with Ito’s performance that they made the move permanent at the end of the season. Since then, Ito has improved every season, becoming one of the Bundesliga’s top defenders.

After playing 3,191 minutes in 37 appearances last season, Ito’s 2023-24 campaign was cut short due to his call-up to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, but he anchored Stuttgart’s defense in 29 games, playing 2,502 minutes.

Ito’s play helped Stuttgart finish second in the Bundesliga this season and qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 14 years, while also relegating Bundesliga giants Munich to third place.

Ito is regarded as a versatile player who can play center back, left back, and even left stopper in a back three formation, and has the ability to make accurate diagonal passes.

Among defenders who have started at least 25 games in the Bundesliga this season, Ito is one of the best passers in the league, ranking third overall with 75.7 passes per game, according to He also possesses great speed, clocking in at 34 kilometers per hour.

Munich have been keen on Ito’s performances and have made an immediate move to sign him at the end of the 2023-24 season. “The base transfer fee for Ito is €23 million, but the total could rise to €28 million with performance-based bonuses,” explained Kicker, Germany’s largest soccer 스포츠토토 publication.

Ito, who qualified for the UEFA Champions League with Stuttgart, welcomed the offer from one of the world’s top clubs with open arms. “It’s a great honor for me to be able to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world,” he told the club’s website.

“The name Bayern Munich is known as a good name in Japan,” Ito said, “I always gave my all in Stuttgart and I am grateful to the club. Now I’m looking forward to the challenge in Munich, and I want to do my part to help the club win many titles.”

While Munich fans are happy with the signing, as they know Ito has been performing well in the Bundesliga this season, other Bundesliga fans have criticized the move, saying that Munich is trying to solidify its dominance by weakening its rivals once again.

“Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Hiroki Ito from Stuttgart has been met with criticism in Germany,” Tokyo Sports explained, adding, “The Bavarians are no stranger to signing key players from their local rivals.”

The media outlet cited the example of Saare, who was one of Munich’s key signings in the past from rival Borussia Dortmund. After Dortmund 파워볼게임 won the Bundesliga title for two consecutive seasons (2010-11, 2011-22), Munich signed Mario Gotze, a key Dortmund player, in the summer of 2013.

Goetze wasn’t the only player Munich acquired from Dortmund. In 2014, they signed world-class striker Robert Lewandowski as a free agent, and in 2016, they brought in one of the Bundesliga’s best center backs, Mats Hummels.

Of course, it makes sense that Munich would want players who have proven themselves in the Bundesliga, but the club’s successive acquisitions of key players from rival clubs has led some fans to accuse them of trying to maintain their dominance. In fact, Munich won the Bundesliga for 11 consecutive seasons, starting in 2012-13 and ending in 2022-23.

In 2023-24, they finished third behind Bayer Leverkusen and Stuttgart, who went on to win the title unbeaten, but the club’s post-season acquisition of Stuttgart’s key defender Ito led some Bundesliga fans to accuse Munich of trying to weaken their competition again.

The criticism has intensified as the club is not satisfied with Ito alone and is also targeting Leverkusen and Germany national team key defender Jonatan Tah. Sky Sports Germany reported on March 3 that “Munich and Tah have already reached a verbal agreement on a potential transfer this summer. Discussions are ongoing on the essential details.”

According to the media, Munich’s decision to bring in another star player from a Bundesliga rival caused fans to criticize the club on social media, saying, “Why can’t Munich only sign Bundesliga players?”, “They brought in a player from a rival team again”, and “Shouldn’t Munich get a player who had a good season in the Bundesliga?”.

“Even if there is nothing wrong with the rules, German soccer fans seem to have questions about Bayern Munich’s recruitment policy,” the media explained.