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BFW Round Table: Bayern Munich should sell Thiago or Vidal—but who?

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We got three BFW writers together to answer a really tough question.

Anderlecht v Bayern Munchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

As Bayern Munich lurches out of the winter break and into February, transfers have been on everyone’s mind—not least Leon Goretzka’s decision to join Bayern this summer. Therefore, we ask this question: if Bayern Munich had to lose one, Thiago or Vidal—who should it be?

CSmith1919: In one of the penultimate scenes from Breaking Bad [SPOILER ALERT!], Walter White had to choose between attempting to save his brother-in-law, Hank, or losing most of his crystal meth-generated fortune. It was a conundrum of the utmost magnitude. Maybe a selection between Vidal and Thiago won’t leave either one lifeless in a desert ditch, but for most fans it’s an agonizing situation.

Each player has outstanding attributes. Vidal represents tenacity, grit, and heart, while Thiago brings creativity and technical excellence. If I had to make a Walter White-type decision, I’d have to consider roster redundancy as the biggest factor. With that, I’d send Thiago off. While 4 years younger than Vidal, Thiago’s role is not only going to be blocked by Goretzka, but he will be competing with Müller and James as well. Squad rotation aside, and despite his age, Vidal can fill in at any of the midfield slots with aplomb, while Thiago’s attack-minded play may leave him more limited for what the roster needs next season.

Anderlecht v Bayern Munchen - UEFA Champions League
Thiago injured in Bayern Munich’s clash against Anderlecht in the Champions League
Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images

Truthfully, I’d shop Javi and loan out Tolisso, but—in a do-or-die spot—I’m transferring Thiago back to a less crowded midfield situation somewhere else and relocating to a remote part of New Hampshire to avoid the commenters’ backlash!

Ryan Cowper: Simply put, if Bayern Munich sell Thiago and keep Arturo Vidal, this team is bad at their jobs. Since every indication is that Bayern are the opposite, they should be working to sell Arturo Vidal this summer.

Speculation surrounds two of the club’s most influential midfielders—Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal. While Vidal has been linked with a move to Chelsea for some time now, Thiago has been the subject of some interest from his former club Barcelona. Both transfers would bring in a significant amount of cash for Bayern, to be used elsewhere.

The Chilean midfielder is a dynamo, but he turns 31 this spring. With his best years behind him, keeping Vidal is very much a “win now” move in that Bayern think he can put them over the top in the short term to win the Champions League.

Thiago, at the tender age of 26—and when healthy—is still the very best midfielder on this Bayern squad. Thiago’s health is a concern, but one must consider that he has averaged a shade over 30 appearances a year in his 4.5 years in red. Compare that to Arjen Robben who has averaged just over 32 appearances a season in his 8.5 years. Bayern recognize the value of extremely creative players with injury problems. If they truly found such problems as insurmountable as we the fans do, the team would have long ago severed ties with the Dutchman.

The addition of Leon Goretzka makes the loss of Vidal palatable and gives Bayern yet another special young midfielder—Rudy is young for a regista—to add to their growing collection.

FC Bayern Muenchen v 1899 Hoffenheim - Bundesliga
Is Vidal the odd man out?
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images

TomAdams71: An incredibly difficult question for any Bayern Munich fan to answer, but I would have to say, in the long term, it would make more sense to sell Arutro Vidal as opposed to Thiago. Judging off of this season alone would be a bit unfair to Thiago, given how much he’s been hampered by injuries. I think there’s more he brings to Bayern when he’s fully fit and routinely in the starting eleven.

There’s certainly no doubting how much Vidal has been revitalized under Jupp Heynckes this season, but at 30 years of age, the Chilean required a stern talking to from his boss to up his fitness levels—suggesting that it had taken a dip under Carlo Ancelotti. On the surface, that just seems like a case of Jupp working his magic, but it should cause some concern, seeing as Vidal was the only player in the squad that was singled out for that reason. He’s looked sharp recently, but a fully fit Thiago could be far more dangerous in Bayern’s midfield next season. With the arrival of Leon Goretzka, and assuming that both Corentin Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy continue to grow into their roles, Vidal would be the easiest player for Bayern to let go.

Jupp’s clearly a man who prioritizes stability in his midfield, and it seems it’s at its best when Javi Martinez acts as the holding midfielder with Thiago just ahead of him. It’s a combination we’ve scarcely seen this campaign, mostly due to injury problems, but Martinez gives Thiago so much licence to do what he does best: thread together passes to his teammates, cut through defenders, and create goal-scoring opportunities. Not to mention that Thiago is a fine finisher himself. Though Vidal’s distribution can be precise, I don’t feel as if it’s regularly as dangerous as Thiago’s is when he’s firing on all cylinders.

Lastly, a much overlooked facet of Thiago’s game that pegs him slightly over Vidal is his discipline. Vidal has a tendency to accumulate yellow cards, and like last season in the Champions League against Real Madrid, some of them come at rather costly times. Thiago shows more composure in moments where Vidal might let his aggression override all other emotions and do something a bit rash.

Edited by Ineednoname.

Poll

Who should be sold?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Thiago Alcantara
    (120 votes)
  • 80%
    Arturo Vidal
    (780 votes)
  • 6%
    Both (I’m a Chelsea and/or Barcelona fan)
    (64 votes)
964 votes total Vote Now