Is Sergio Agüero the one Bayern need?

Shaun Botterill

What kind of striker does Bayern need? Is Sergio Agüero the answer? Or is Mario Mandzukic enough?

Since last April there has been a bombardment by the continuing saga of Robert Lewandowski to Bayern Munich in the press. Be it the German press or the English, this story has legs and isn't going anywhere until Lewandowski sign his new contract next year. It's always been a lopsided makes-sense-makes-no-sense kind of story.

It made no sense when Bayern Munich were using the powerful duo in Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic on their way to treble glory last season. It made sense this summer after the departure of Mario Gomez for Fiorentina. It made little sense that Borussia Dortmund would sell easily their best (or second-best) player to their biggest rivals. It makes sense he might be transferring on a free next summer.

But one thing that does make sense is the type of player Robert Lewandowski is and what it is that Pep Guardiola wants. Look at Guardiola's first years in charge at Barcelona. He brought in one of the most technically brilliant strikers in Zlatan Ibrahomovic who also fit the classic #9 mold well. Despite their problems, Zlatan was a useful piece also given the fact that Guardiola had the mirror image across the pitch in Thierry Henry as well (albeit he played him on the wing). Further adding in the fact that the role eventually fell to the most technically gifted player on the planet in Lionel Messi, we see that was no accident either.

What we see from Guardiola is the preference that his striker be technically proficient. The false 9 was an evolution out of that desire because Lionel Messi needs a stool to reach into the refrigerator (also, a couple other factors). If Zlatan had stuck with Pep (or been willing to work hard in defense) we'd be living in very different soccer universe.

With those facts in mind, we see that Robert Lewandowski is actually what Pep wants. A highly technical striker who presses hard for 90 minutes, has adept defensive skills, and has all the aerial and hold-up prowess present in the world's best classically styled strikers.

Mario Mandzukic has the hold up prowess, the aerial ability, the pressing and adept defensive skills - but the word highly technical  - the ability to turn, dribble, run and manufacture goals on his own is not a skill that Mandzukic has in spades. That world-class technical ability with the ball at his feet is the key component missing from his game.

So, when the papers start running rumors like Sergio Agüero is what Pep Guardiola wants, don't be surprised because it is. Guardiola's track record has shown that he values highly technical players who can play as classic #9's. If Sergio Agüero quit Manchester City tomorrow, Pep Guardiola would be outside his residence within an hour carrying a Publisher's Clearing House sized check and a $100,000 bottle of vodka brewed at a secret Russian laboratory at the North Pole . Don't believe them when they write crap like Bayern would sign Lewandowski, then sell him to Manchester City for Agüero because that's FIFA 13 style lunacy that doesn't happen in real life. Also, don't believe it when the Mirror tells you.

But seriously consider that these are the types of players Bayern Munich are going to be looking to sign in the coming months and that Mario Mandzukic may not be Guardiola's long term choice.

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