Julian Nagelsmann is set to become the new head coach of the German national team. On Tuesday, Germany’s Bild newspaper was the first to report that a deal between the German Football Federation (DFB) and Nagelsmann is imminent. Other outlets quickly followed with their reporting that Nagelsmann is set to take over until at least the 2024 European Championships hosted by Germany.
The DFB, in the meantime, confirmed that there had been initial talks with Nagelsmann. “We have had a good round of first talks,” president Bernd Neuendorf said. Those first rounds of talks resulted in Nagelsmann and the DFB coming to a verbal agreement on contract details.
According to the report by Bild, Nagelsmann will earn €400,000 ($427,000) a month or $5.13 million a year. That is a significant drop from Nagelsmann’s previous salary at Bayern, where the 36-year-old reportedly earned over $7 million a season.
That contract at Bayern Munich was set to run until 2026. Bayern released the head coach in March and replaced him with Thomas Tuchel. But still under contract, Bayern was hopeful to receive a transfer fee for Nagelsmann. After all, the Bundesliga giants paid up to €20 million ($21 million) to Leipzig to sign Nagelsmann in 2021.
The Bayern bosses, however, signaled early on that the club would help the DFB by waiving a potential transfer fee. An essential step as the DFB currently lacks the financial resources to pay a significant fee for a new head coach.
There are still some small steps to complete before the DFB can announce Nagelsmann. The head coach needs to dissolve his contract with Bayern, and the board of governors and the supervisory board at the DFB must approve the deal. Although considered a formality, those steps will likely delay an official announcement later this week.
Either way, sporting director Rudi Völler receives his preferred candidate for the national team job, even if it is just to the European Championships next summer. Völler stepped in as interim for one game last week and together with assistant coaches Hannes Wolf and Sandro Wagner coached Die Nationalmannschaft to a 2-1 win over France.
The performance against France has quickly turned around the mood in Germany regarding the national team. The 2-1 victory was one of the most-watched games in recent history. There was indeed a sense of nostalgia surrounding the interim appointment of Völler that, at least briefly, seemed to reawaken Germany’s love for their national team. They also led to calls for Völler or someone like him to take the job long-term.
Although he might be the best candidate to lead this team to Euro 2024, Völler was never willing to do the job long-term. Instead, the 63-year-old quickly narrowed in on Nagelsmann as the ideal candidate for the job.
Whether it will work remains to be seen. In recent years, national teams have moved away from being the hotbed for tactical innovation. Those now take place at the club level. Instead, national teams are almost like all-star teams, where the players need very little tactical input.
France and Argentina have been successful because the national team coaches have found a pragmatic defensive first approach. The opposite has been true with Germany, where Joachim Löw and Hansi Flick first wanted to play beautiful football. But the focus on attacking tactics seem to have almost overburdened the players called up to the German national team.
This might also be a problem regarding Nagelsmann. The 36-year-old is considered a tactical innovator rather than an old-school motivator. But the France performance highlighted that the latter might be more effective than the former.
Indeed, once confirmed, Nagelsmann’s biggest task is to kindle the fire that Völler has sparked in his short time with the team. It is a difficult task for the former Bayern coach, perhaps the most difficult in his still short career. Can Nagelsmann play pragmatic football? Only time will tell.
Manuel Veth is the host of the Bundesliga Gegenpressing Podcast and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth and on Threads: @manuveth