He may barely be off the plane following his summer transfer from Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, but France’s World Cup-winning left-back Lucas Hernandez says he’s ready to lead the record champions from the back.
Hernandez gave his first press conference as a Bayern player on Monday, accompanied by club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and the pair seem convinced that good things are just around the corner following the Frenchman’s arrival.
"Hello, my name is Lucas, I am happy to be here. I am looking forward to a good season with FC Bayern. Pack Mas!" Hernandez began – in German – to a delighted Bavarian press pack.
"Bayern’s a big club whether you’re in France, Spain or Italy," he continued. "It's one of the best clubs in the world with many trophies, and not many clubs can say that."
Hernandez can play left-back or through the middle. In the former position he will have competition at the Allianz Arena from, primarily, David Alaba; the latter, from Niklas Süle and fellow French World Cup winner Benjamin Pavard. The 23-year-old remains unfazed, though.
"We've got great players with a lot of experience," he said. "It's up to the coach where I play, and then it’s up to me to repay the fans and those in charge. All Bayern defenders are big players with a lot of experience. Anyone can boss the defence, but I consider my role to be a very good one. I can be a leader."
Some space has opened up at the back following Mats Hummels’ return to Borussia Dortmund in June, but Rummenigge insists that Bayern’s defensive stable remains the envy of any club in the game.
"I read that the best centre-back wouldn’t play for Bayern anymore," he said. "I don’t think so. Niklas Süle’s also in the national team we’re in a very good position with Hernandez, Süle and Pavard, who’s also European class."
As well as Hernandez from Atletico and Pavard, who joined from relegated VfB Stuttgart, Bayern have acquired Germany youth striker Fiete Arp from Hamburg, and Rummenigge refused to close the door on further acquisitions.
"We're poised. We have plenty of patience and we’ve decided many other transfers late in the window. We signed Arjen Robben five minutes before the window closed."
Hernandez underwent knee surgery ahead of signing for Bayern, and although this summer’s International Champions Cup – and fixtures against Arsenal, Real Madrid and Inter Milan – may come too soon for him, he is expected to be fit in time for the Bundesliga season opener against Hertha Berlin on 16 August.