Since I can remember, Bayern Munich has been my team. They still are, but having not been a massive fan of Pep, as well as increasingly disillusioned with Ancelotti, leaves me thinking about the future and how I would want the team to develop. Here is my take on a successful transition over the next three years:
[RED] first team
[ORANGE] backups (who will all be needed for all three competitions)
[BLUE] new players (including potential new players)
[GREY] youth players with the potential to get into the first team in the future
Season 2017/2018 (Ancelotti)
Left: Lahm, Alonso, Starke
Potential leavers: Costa, Vidal
Joined: Coman (permanent), Süle, Rudy, Gnabry, Tolisso
Potential further joiners: Bernadeschi, Wagner
Comments to Transfers
First of all regarding transfers. Leavers: with Lahm and Alonso leaving, two pillars are leaving the squad. However, I believe that they are leaving at exactly the right time because you could tell they were struggling at times last season. Starke has agreed to carry on for a couple of months longer until we have at least two goalkeepers that are fit.
Costa leaving is inevitable, his body language when he came on the pitch last season was that of someone who didn’t want to be there, and when he played he was selfish as if wanting to make a highlight reel out of the little time he had, while often failing. Coman also had some similar issues with attitude, but I feel like there was a change after his move became permanent and you saw him put a lot more effort into his performances. Presumably he was told that he would be the heir of Robben’s spot once he retires, something he has spoken about openly in recent times.
Moving on to Vidal. Why does he make my potential leavers list when there are already two veterans finishing? There are several reasons, but the big three are the following:
- His performance in the return leg of the Champions League against Real Madrid. If he were to be kept as a leader then he can’t cost his team like that, but he tends to do it on a regular basis.
- Tolisso. A great signing who I didn’t know previously but, after watching some film on him, I am very excited about. He is a versatile box to box player in a similar mold to Vidal. Is it wise to keep two hotheads on the squad? If it were up to me, I would keep the younger one who is more likely to listen to the manager.
- Coming off the Confederations Cup, where he is playing very well, there will be several teams who are interested in him, making it a great time to sell.
Moving on to the Newcomers. I have already mentioned Coman and Tolisso. All of the other signings I also really like. I can see Rudy having a career similar to Rode at Bayern: being a really solid backup and versatile enough to cover multiple positions. Süle is a great player, one of the best young German defenders in my opinion. He brings speed, strength, height and can pick out a pass. However, I think that he could do with loosing a couple of pounds to get in optimal condition. I think that I read somewhere that he actually changed his diet for the move to FCB, so that’s a good step.
Gnabry is also an exceptional player with great speed and strength for the wing, but someone who can also step in right up front. I think that it would do him really good to learn from Ribery in particular, even if I have fielded him behind Müller in my graphic. This is for two reasons: first of all I believe he can play the central role and secondly because there is still strong talk of Bayern signing a left winger.
That brings us nicely onto my potential further signings. The goal is to have two solid players for every position. This leaves two spaces needing attention: someone as a backup for Lewi and a left winger/Müller backup (depending on where you put Gnabry). While Alexis Sanchez was a hot candidate for landing the spot (and could have filled both positions), I am very glad that it is not working out for the following reasons:
- he doesn’t want to be there: the way he is trying to force his way to another team by making the negotiations difficult shows that either he is after a big payday or simply doesn’t want a move to Bayern
- money: if it is the money, he would not fit into the salary structure but is not worth sacrificing the clubs principles over.
- his character: moody player with a temper who doesn’t shy away from strops on the field and complaining at his colleagues.
- the squad: he doesn’t fit into the current squad. Bayern is looking to build a new young team, and on the left side you would be looking at replacing a 35 year old with a 28 year old who will be there for only a couple of seasons before moving onto a bigger payday, ruining Ribery’s last year(s). This is also something which would go against the Bayern Family values.
So instead, let’s have a look at the profile for each position:
ST2 we are looking for someone who is happy to play backup to Lewi, but still has to have the attitude and skill to come on the pitch against top international opposition and score goals. In my opinion you are looking at someone of the same age or older than Lewi who is happy to be in the backup spot, something that younger players aren’t happy with these days. This was a really tough choice because there is no one who immediately comes to mind with the proven International experience. However, there are two guys who I could see in this position. The first is Wagner (Hoffenheim) and the second is Petersen (Freiburg). I had also considered Lars Stindl (Gladbach) but decided that I can’t imagine him in this role as a backup when he can play first team as a captain.
Both have been players for Bayern Munich in the past and both have great reasons why they could be a fit. Wagner has the Bayern attitude (recently claiming that he is the best German striker), has proven that he can score goals, came out of the Bayern youth system and has recently said that he could imagine going back to Bayern. On top of that he has proven to link up really well with Kimmich at the Confed Cup and warm-up games. Petersen also played for Bayern in the past, although he never made it through to being a feature player. However, in recent years, both at the Olympics and for Freiburg, he has shown that he can be an excellent sub striker without complaining. He scored 5 game winning goals coming on as a sub in under 35 minutes in the Bundesliga last season. Altogether, though, Wagner has more going for him which is why I could see him taking this spot.
LW so apart from Sanchez, who I have already spoken about, the other name who has been spoken about is Carrasco. He is a top player and could be a great addition to this squad. He is established at a Champions League level at only 23 years of age and therefore has plenty of room for development. I think that at the moment the big problem complicating his move could be the transfer ban on Atletico, meaning that a replacement would have to wait to play. However, if Diego Costa moves there from Chelsea the Carrasco transfer could be used to fund that. This could also lead to Atletico playing games to push up the transfer fee.
However, there is another player who I find just as exciting, if not more so, and is a year younger: Federico Bernardeschi. He is explosive, fast and has a positive mean streak. He has strong passing skills, can take people on one-on-one can shoot from distance and push into the center of attack. From a financial side he would also be cheaper, even though he scored the same amount of goals and assists in 11 less games (around 600 less minutes) across all competitions and in a league with stronger defences.
While Carrasco would be a great addition, Bernardeschi would be the better addition. He is the more powerful and physical, younger and less of a drama-queen. I hope he ends up at Bayern.
Comments to Tactics
In terms of the formation I don’t believe Ancelotti is very creative and therefore won’t change much from the 4-2-3-1 of last season. The main change in the starting line-up will be replacing Lahm and Alonso.
Although Kimmich believes that he is more suited to midfield, his small size (both in height and mass) means that he is often struggling when it comes to physical contact. This makes him more suited to the right back position. A spot he has filled out perfectly in the past and is currently doing a good job again for the national squad in the Confed Cup. He is stronger than Lahm going forward but could do with improving the fact that he sometimes forgets his defensive tasks and then comes a step too late. With Willy Sagnol (previous great RB for Bayern) becoming Assistant Head Coach this could be a boost for Kimmich. He is the ideal heir to Captain of the national squad and Bayern team.
Taking the Alonso position will be a more dynamic midfield of Thiago and Tolisso (it could be Vidal if they do decide to keep him), which will allow Müller to slide back into the starting line-up. This is fairly straight forward change that was actually nothing too new. The combination of Thiago – Vidal – Müller came into play last season when Alonso had a break. This also means that Müller and Lewi can go into attack together, which is something that has proved infinitely better than either by himself.
The other players drop into backup roles, although I imagine that especially the wingers will get a lot of playing time with Ribery and Robben not being young enough to play a whole season.
If the squad does turn out like this I think it will be highly competitive as well as nicely balanced while having enough hungry young players to push the established starters. Based on that I will be doing a Part 2 and Part 3 for the following two seasons and how I think the squad will develop over those years.