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City in Kroos Control

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Despite Rodri’s immense performances at number six this term it appears that Pep Guardiola’s long-lasting affection for midfield metronomes continues.

El Nacional have reported this week that the Catalan head coach is a huge admirer of Real Madrid’s Toni Kross with whom he spent one season whilst in charge of Bayern Munich.

The German international returned to action earlier this month and made his first full appearance in Sunday’s 2-1 El Clasico win alongside Casemiro and Modric.

(Source: Toni Kroos in action against Barcelona (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

However, all three players have had to come to terms with the establishing of Fede Valverde and summer signing Eduardo Camavinga in Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

Kroos has been dealing with an ongoing groin issue and reportedly wants to be a part of Germany’s 2022 World Cup squad, despite retiring from international football earlier this year, meaning regular first-team football is a necessity.

His contract is up in 2023 leaving next summer as Madrid’s last viable chance of securing a healthy fee for the three-peat Champions League winner but why would Pep want to add give himself another selection headache?

Guardiola coached Kroos during the 2013/14 season and deployed him in a deeper role sighting his technical ability, range of passing and vision as his key attributes.

Kroos’ pass success jumped from 85.1% in the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League to 94.2% across 11 appearances under Guardiola as Bayern reached the semi-finals before losing out to Madrid.

It was the 31-year old’s finest ever season in Europe’s elite competition in terms of passes per game as he completed an average of 95.4 on his way to registering four assists at the 2014 World Cup and being awarded the man of the match in Germany’s 7-1 rout of Brazil in the semi-final.

(Kroos on the touchline with Guardiola during the Bundesliga match between Bayern Muenchen and Werder Bremen at Allianz Arena on April 26, 2014 (Photo by L. Baron/FC Bayern via Getty Images)

Stefan Reinartz, a former international teammate, claimed in the past that Guardiola tried everything he could to keep Kroos at the club but it was Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that ultimately drove the midfielder out.

Bayern’s CEO was unwilling to pay Kroos more than €10 million a year because he didn’t feel the three-time Bundesliga winner was a world-class player.

Speaking on the German Football Association’s (DFB) official website in 2017 on the greatest influences in his career, Kroos said:

“I wouldn’t undervalue my year under Pep Guardiola because I think I made a big step forward in that year.

(Jerome Boateng pours beer over Toni Kroos as they celebrate winning the 2013/14 Bundesliga (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

“Pep Guardiola saw me as a central player in his system, which my style of play fits into perfectly.”

Bayern secured the domestic double in the 13/14 season and made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League, but were knocked out by Madrid.

This transfer rumour may be in its infancy but Guardiola usually gets what he wants and he has been more than complimentary of Kroos in the past:

"Toni is a very intelligent, very brainy, and very calm player," Guardiola said.

"Many times, when things go badly, we tend to blame the players that seem calmer or more technical. But these players are the bravest, the ones that have the most courage.

"The players that shout the most are those that hide when things go badly. Toni is the opposite, he's the bravest of them all in the most difficult moments." (MARCA 2019)

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