Much like Christmas cash bolsters a college student’s bank account, the January transfer window exists to help bring in players to fill the cracks in a lineup. And boy, do Bayern Munich have some cracks to fill.
I don’t need to go on about the performance of the team, because the product on the field speaks for itself. The goalkeeping has been mediocre, the defense is subpar, and while the central midfield has been carrying the team, Bayern face a big age problem with wingers and attackers.
Given the central midfield’s superiority, I have decided to keep the number of central midfielders as low as possible. So, here is a starting XI-ish of players Bayern should buy in January.
I’ve gone with a 3-4-3 to highlight the need for new center backs and wingers, while decreasing the need for central midfielders. Also, as a disclaimer, not all of these players have been rumored with Bayern. Some of these players are wunderkinds, some are good statistically, some are cheap. All of these can be reasons why the player was chosen.
GK: Matz Sels — RC Strasbourg
I know many of you are thinking right now, “Who the hell is Matz Sels?” Well, he’s a former Anderlecht and Newcastle goalkeeper who has been having a standout season at Ligue 1 side Strasbourg. In 19 appearances, the Belgian has made 52 saves and kept four clean sheets, including a 0-0 draw against current second-place side, LOSC Lille.
One stat that jumps off the page is his combined 31 saves within the penalty area and six-yard box; places where Bayern conceded many goals in all competitions (*cough* Felix Gotze *cough*). RC Strasbourg has climbed to 7th in the league thanks to his efforts, and with an estimated worth of €4.5 million, he could be a good player to bring on while Christian Früchtl gets some more time to develop at the Säbener Strasse.
Manuel Neuer has not looked like himself since coming back from injury and while Sven Ulreich has proven himself as a capable backup, he wasn’t very consistent during his time as starting goalkeeper. Maybe a value purchase like Sels can help bring stability to the inevitable transition between master and protege that will happen in the coming years.
Centerbacks: Benjamin Pavard, Jonathan Tah, Lukas Klostermann
Bayern may splash €85 million on defenders, but I would be shocked if it was for only one player. You want to know who costs €2 million less than Lucas Hernandez? All three of these defenders combined.
Benjamin Pavard has been linked with a move to Bavaria since the World Cup, and statistically, he has been rock solid at the back for Stuttgart. He averages 7.4 clearances, 1.9 interceptions and 0.7 blocks per game over 14 Bundesliga appearances. WhoScored.com has him as Stuttgart’s second highest rated defender and at 22, he has time to become an especially great defender.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Tah has been placed on this list, because he has comparable stats, is the same age and has experience with Die Mannschaft. In his 16 Bundesliga appearances with Bayer Leverkusen, he averages 0.8 blocks and 1.4 interceptions. He also got time in the Europa League and managed four clearances in a game against Ludogorets Razgrad.
Finally, Lukas Klostermann provides a level of defensive versatility to the team. He has the ability to play all over the back line, but has a tendency to fill in at right back. While his defensive statistics haven’t stood out given his knee problems earlier in the season, he managed to score two goals and an assist in eight appearances for RB Leipzig.
Bayern doesn’t need to add all three of these players, and I think all of them could fit well, but I put them here to prove a point. As much as Lucas Hernandez is a great player, I don’t believe he’s worth €85 million.
With that being said, Bayern NEEDS to splash the cash on defensive reinforcements, given our draw against a Klopp-led Liverpool side. We should start by looking to bring in some of these names.
Central Midfielders: Aaron Ramsey and a black hole
I was about to put Nabil Fekir on this list because he’s a great, young midfielder. But then I realized he’s valued at €70 million.
This is where the -ish part of the title comes in. WE DO NOT NEED ANOTHER CENTRAL MIDFIELDER. That’s why I only included Ramsey on this list.
The Welshman is going to leave Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of the season after the board decided to rescind their contract offer to him. So, now the bidding war begins with Bayern and Juventus being the favorites to land him. Recent rumors have circulated suggesting both clubs are offering Ramsey about €175,000/week. So, it’s up to him to decide where he wants to go.
But, outside of that, Bayern don’t need to go after anybody. With Corentin Tolisso set to come back within the next two months, Die Roten will be filled to the brim with central midfielders.
Outside Midfielders: Leon Bailey and Christian Pulisic
With both of these starlets, the question becomes do you pay €45-60 million for them now or watch them beat your defense up later?
With Robbery set to exit the Allianz, that leaves Bayern with Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and new signing Alphonso Davies as the only outside midfielders on the team. Given the Bavarians reliance on the wings in their style of play, this is an area that needs to be addressed.
Both Bailey and Pulisic have been linked with Bayern. Both have similar stats.
Bailey has a mediocre one goal and one assist over a eight starts and eight substitutions for Bayer Leverkusen.
Pulisic has been wasting away on the Borussia Dortmund bench after muscle problems and the rise of Jadon Sancho. He has a goal and two assists over five starts and six substitutions. Compare that with his twelve starts and one substitution appearance by this time last year, and it’s clear that he has fallen out of favor with Lucien Favre.
Out of the two of them, Pulisic is more likely to go and given the stiff competition between Chelsea and Liverpool for his signature, Bayern will need to put in a very good offer for him. There have been rumors saying the Bavarians have dropped out of the race for Pulisic, but only time will tell if they stay away.
Front Three: Timo Werner, Ante Rebic, Cengiz Ünder
These three players have all been linked with Bayern at some point this year, and some are more desperate than others.
According to transfer rumors, German international Timo Werner is looking for a quick exit from Red Bull Arena, and has been dropping major clues as to his fondness for the German champions. Werner has been having a great season with RB Leipzig, scoring 11 goals which sees him tied for second on the Bundesliga scoring table. It makes perfect sense why Werner would look to come to Bavaria, with the move being rumored for years.
Meanwhile, Ante Rebic may be looking to reunite with his former boss Niko Kovac in Munich. Kovac reportedly tried to bring him to the Allianz this summer, but somehow couldn’t get the job done. Rebic has had a decent season with Eintracht Frankfurt, bagging five goals and two assists in 12 appearances for Die Adler. With Sandro Wagner looking more and more like dead weight, maybe a move for the 25-year old Croatian international would help take the weight off Robert Lewandowski.
Finally, the transfer that has been rumored all season. The 21-year old Turkish winger Cengiz Ünder has been touted as Bayern’s top target to replace Arjen Robben. Looking at his stats, it’s clear the kid is talented. Over 22 Champions League and Serie A appearances for AS Roma, Ünder grabbed five goals and five assists while maintaining a 78% pass completion rate in both competitions. The only question facing the board is whether or not the youngster is worth the reported €60 million Bayern are willing to pay for him.
For a visual:
Other than de Ligt, because I think he’s a summer buy, did I miss anybody? Are any of these ridiculous? Is €85 million WAYYYY too much to spend on a defender? Let us know in the comments.