By JOHN EDWARDS
Arjen Robben is the shock casualty of the new Pep Guardiola era at Bayern Munich after being made available for transfer by the recently-crowned Bundesliga champions.
The 29-year old winger, who cost £24million when he left Chelsea for Real Madrid in the summer of 2007, is up for sale, as former Barcelona coach Guardiola begins to stamp his mark on Bayern’s fortunes.
Guardiola wants him out and is ready to listen to offers, in a development that could spark interest from several leading Barclays Premier League clubs.
Mario Gomez is the other high-profile name on the for sale list, with Stamford Bridge a possible destination for the 27-year old, if, as expected, Jose Mourinho takes over from interim manager Rafa Benitez in the summer.
Apart from welcoming the capture of Radamel Falcao – a deal first revealed in Sportsmail at the start of this week – Mourinho wants a physically-strong target man, and £20million-rated Gomez fits the bill.
Though continuing his year-long break from the game – and devoting three hours a day to learning German in the process – Guardiola has already had an input into how Bayern will line up next season by ordering the signings of Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund.
Gotze is in the bag, while, as revealed in Sportsmail, Manchester United target Lewandowski has agreed terms with Bayern and is urging Dortmund to sanction a move to the Allianz Arena in the summer.
The double raid on their bitter rivals has left Bayern with a surplus of attacking options, and Gomez and Robben are the two who will have to make way.
Guardiola singled out Robben for the exit after deciding he was too limited in his attacking forays. Though his favoured manoeuvre of cutting in from the right and shooting with his left foot has brought its rewards, Guardiola swiftly concluded he had little else to offer and issued an edict to find a buyer for him.
Robben recently expressed his displeasure at outgoing coach Jupp Heynckes’ selection policy, after frequently finding himself behind Franck Ribery, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller in Bayern’s starting line-up.
‘It is disappointing to find myself on the bench so often, and I can’t say I am very happy about it,’ he said. ‘When I come on, I give everything for the team, but I see no reason why I should not be playing.’
The former Chelsea favourite’s starting opportunities may be about to improve, but not at Bayern, after Guardiola signalled the end of his four-year stay in Munich.