If there is one thing that almost all FC Bayern Munich fans agree on, it’s that their striker extraordinaire, Robert Lewandowski, needs someone to back him up, for the occasional rest, or in case of injury. However, club management has yet to sign anyone, and seems content to go into another season without a quality backup striker.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s argument make sense: it’s hard to find a forward that has the quality to play at Bayern, but who is willing to sit on the bench while the very durable Lewandowski plays almost every game.
So, why has Bayern management not signed the fifth-highest scoring player in Bundesliga history, who is currently a free agent? I present to you, Claudio Pizarro! After not getting his contract renewed in Bremen, “Pizza” has indicated that he wants to play one more season, and would prefer to stay in Germany.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of bringing in the Peruvian forward.
- He knows the club, and most of the players
Pizarro played for the German record champions for a total of nine seasons, over two separate stints in Munich, most recently in 2014/15. He played with 15 of the current Bayern players, so he’s quite familiar with the team and the club already.
- He is well-liked by his teammates and the fans
The Peruvian is a charismatic person, and seems to get along with everyone. He has always been highly regarded as a good teammate, and is an absolute fan favorite at the Allianz Arena.
- He doesn’t mind sitting on the bench
In his last three-year stretch with the Reds, he was a consummate professional, and had no issues warming the bench for the starters. At first, he backed up the two Marios — Gomez and Mandzukic — followed by playing behind the current starter, Lewandowski. No griping, no complaining, and always a smile when he got on the field.
- He still knows how to score
Although he had a very forgettable year in Bremen last season, in which he only made 19 appearances, and tallied a single goal, he managed a very respectable 14 goals the previous Bundesliga season.
- His salary demands will be modest
His last two seasons were spent at Werder Bremen, so his salary demands can’t be very high. Even bench players at Bayern can make a fair amount more than many starters at other German clubs, so he should come relatively cheap, while still being happy with his pay. In addition, Pizarro and his family make their permanent home in the Bavarian capital, so the incentive to sign whatever deal Bayern offers him would be significant.
- He’s ancient, by professional soccer standards
Claudio will turn 39 in October, which, for a non-goalkeeper, is very old. He has obviously lost a couple of steps, and probably won’t burn many defenders down the field, but then that was never really his game anyway.
- Injuries may be inevitable
He enjoyed a relatively healthy time in 2015/16, only missing three games for Werder, but the seasons prior and after were marred by injuries. Last season he missed 11 games — including nine to start the season — and only managed ten starts in the league. Is it his body breaking down, or has he just been unlucky?
- Would his signing take even more playing time away from guys like Thomas Müller?
The Raumdeuter is already having trouble getting his minutes with a crowded offensive midfield, would signing Pizarro take away the few opportunities that Müller would have had when Carlo Ancelotti decides to rest Lewy?
Are the rewards worth the risks?
Considering that the risks are relatively small — if he gets injured, Bayern are back to where they started, and only out a little bit of money — it seems like a no-brainer to sign an insurance policy like Pizarro. Who wouldn’t want that smile and that hair back in red? I know I do.
Tell us what you think in the comments.