German striker Sandro Wagner leaves Bayern Munich for Tianjin Teda
CGTN

Bayern Munich forward Sandro Wagner on Wednesday joined Tianjin Teda in the Chinese Super League (CSL) for a reported transfer fee of five million euros and a hefty pay packet.

The 31-year-old former Germany international started just once for Bundesliga champions Bayern this season and failed to make the squad for their past two games.

"Sandro Wagner came to us and asked to be released from his contract," said Munich's sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

"He had a very attractive offer from China and we met his request."

The Munich-born star is one of Germany's best strikers and always speaks frankly when it comes to football. But Wagner never took his desire for football more seriously than his family's belonging. When playing for Hoffenheim and other clubs, Wagner's wife and their three children stayed back home in Unterhaching.

"Why should the kids have to move all the time just because their father joins a new club?" he said.

When it comes to family life, joining a Chinese club changes everything. His children, Luca-Marie (seven), Hugo (five) and Bruno (11 months) will come along as soon as possible before they might have to decide who will look after the family's pets, a dog and some turtles.

Bayern Munich's Sandro Wagner (C) speaks with head coach Niko Kovac (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Bayern and SL Benfica at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, November 27, 2018. /VCG Photo

Bayern Munich's Sandro Wagner (C) speaks with head coach Niko Kovac (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between FC Bayern and SL Benfica at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, November 27, 2018. /VCG Photo

Several clubs tried to sign Wagner, including English sides West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers, and German Bundesliga clubs VfB Stuttgart and FC Schalke 04. He didn't want to leave Bayern, as he has repeatedly said that as a seven-year-old, he had joined the Bavarian's youth team.

13 months ago he returned to Bayern, after having played for MSV Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Hertha, Darmstadt 98 and Hoffenheim. Bayern paid 13 million euros for him to act as cover for star striker Robert Lewandowski.

After a satisfactory first year under coach Jupp Heynckes, with nine goals in 18 games, his situation changed for the worse under Niko Kovac, and Wagner increasingly found himself sitting in the stands while his team was in action.

Bayern might have lost a competitive striker but can avoid creating growing frustration in the squad. "He got a great offer, that is why we decided to satisfy his request to leave," Salihamidzic noted.

Fellow countrymen Stielike and defender Felix Bastians might help Wagner to settle in China. In 2013, Bastians and Wagner played together at Hertha BSC. The Tianjin team can expect the support of a physically strong striker who is always fully aware in the box, desperately waiting for opportunities to score.

The Bavarians may take some risk with Wagner departing. Now, the job of understudying Lewandowski will fall to German internationals Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry. Coach Kovac is hoping Lewandowski doesn't get injured as crunch time in the Champions League is approaching.

Wagner traveled to Alicante in Spain to meet his new team at their pre-season preparation camp and sign a contract opening the doors to an entirely new life.

Source(s): AFP ,Xinhua News Agency