Despite the successful season with the global managing director of the Conference League playoffs, Christian Keller sees a difficult future for 1. FC Köln. The club is not doing well financially and can therefore not offer its top scorer Anthony Modeste (34) an extension of his contracts, which expire in 2023, for the time being. With coach Steffen Baumgart, on the other hand, there could soon be a signature.
The people of Cologne had to cope with a loss of 85 million euros in sales during the corona pandemic and are therefore forced to take austerity measures. “The FC is economical and structures a major renovation task. Those responsible had to be very creative during the pandemic. What was done was necessary – but of course it has an impact on the future,” said Christian Keller.
He started his job with a “clear order to rehabilitate”, Cologne will “be more of a development club over the years” due to the financial problems, the 43-year-old told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”: “Otherwise we can’t get well. After all: We can’t get much sicker either.”
The difficult situation forces FC to kick players “who have not yet proven themselves to be at Bundesliga level, but who have the potential to do so”.
Does 1.FC Köln have to part with top performers Salih Özcan or Ellyes Skhiri?
It is then the task of the coaching team around Steffen Baumgart to shape and develop these players. On the other hand, the club is dependent on transfer proceeds. Selling top performers like U21 European champion Salih Özcan or Ellyes Skhiri would be lucrative, but would weaken the team.
“We have to achieve our minimum sporting goals and be healthy at the same time. That’s a balancing act, and the ground on which we’re doing this balancing act is very thin,” explains Keller: “We have to create a performance orientation and get away from pure results-oriented thinking. If we can do that, we have a huge chance of granting the power of this club in the foreseeable future.”
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However, if that does not succeed, “the same thing will happen here in the next 30 years as in the last 30: then we will still be in the elevator”. The goal is to “solidify the game idea” and “further develop each individual player” – “and if we then only finish twelfth in the end, that can still be very good for long-term development.”
The Rhinelanders want to generate income in the double-digit million range in the summer. “It is definitely a goal not to run a deficit of millions again like this season,” explained Keller.
1.FC Köln cannot extend the contract with Anthony Modeste
The critical financial situation makes it impossible for 1. FC Köln, top performers and club legend Anthony Modeste offer a contract extension: “We are currently not in a position to extend a top contract. Tony knows we can’t offer him anything beyond 2023 at the moment. When we see more clearly in the fall what our economic opportunities are, things will certainly look different,” said Keller.
Modeste shot the Cologne team into the Conference League with 20 goals last season. “We believe that even at 34 he’s still capable of scoring goals if we use him properly – and the coaching staff will do that. He is fundamentally important for this team,” said the managing director.
1.FC Köln would like to extend the contract with coach Steffen Baumgart
Unlike Modeste, Keller sees FC on the right track with regard to a contract extension with coach Steffen Baumgart, whose contract also expires in 2023. “On behalf of everyone in charge at FC, I made it clear to him that we would like to extend his contract and I support that from my own perspective,” said the 43-year-old. The chief executive also said: “He has also made it clear that he wants to stay. We broke up in such a way that we are now clarifying the formalities.”
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Baumgart took over 1. FC Köln last summer. The 50-year-old introduces the Bundesliga side to the European Cup. (dpa/sid/brb)