Bayern retain Usami interest
Bayern Munich executive board chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed the club retain an interest in Gamba Osaka starlet Takashi Usami.
Usami, 18, was named the J. League's Rookie of the Year in December and Bayern boss Louis van Gaal told Sport Bild last month: "He's definitely an option for the No. 10 position at Bayern. He's considered to be a huge talent, though, and we are not the only team that want to sign him."
Rummenigge has now revealed that an attempt to take the player on trial last month ended in failure but said there was hope a deal could be completed in the future.
"We wanted to invite Usami from Gamba Osaka to our training camp in Qatar in January," he told the Daily Yomiuri. "Unfortunately it did not work out, but we will keep an eye on him.
"The coach and our sports director saw him on DVD and were impressed by him, but we would like to see him at least one week in training with us at Bayern Munich.
"In Japan, there are a lot of good young players; also from a financial point of view, they are not that expensive. Especially with the high quality of [Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji] Kagawa, a lot German clubs are now focusing on the J.League. Kagawa is the big surprise of the Bundesliga. Before the season nobody knew him."
He added: "If we do not find a good solution in Germany then we check the foreign countries."
Rummenigge also gave his backing to Van Gaal, even if he accepts that Bayern are unlikely to make up the 14-point gap on Bundesliga leaders Dortmund.
"He has a clear plan and a clear football philosophy. He is leading the players into a good direction. In my opinion, he is the right coach who fits Bayern Munich.
"It's very difficult to catch up. Dortmund can win the Bundesliga championship by their own efforts. Our goal is second place, because this means automatic direct qualification into the Champions League next season. This is a realistic goal."