In this last part of the three-part series, we look at the remaining candidates who I find interesting prospective wingers for Bayern next season to take on the mantel from Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.
In the first article we outlined the current situation with Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller and possibly Serge Gnabry filling two of a possible five places. We also looked at other options from the Bundesliga, identifying Werner as the top candidate.
Part two took a look at Ligue 1, where some of the biggest rumors are currently coming from, mainly surrounding Malcom. Another French player would make sense with Tolisso and Coman already in the squad. In addition to that Ribery, Willy Sagnol and Bixente Lizarazu have laid down legacies in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, none of the Ligue 1 players are a great fit for Bayern for various reasons. All things considered, Lemar would be the best option in my opinion.
In this last part I will look at a number of other players from a wide range of leagues. I will go though some players linked with Bayern, adding others that I think should bear consideration. The format will be as follows:
Name - age - position - (games played in/ goals/ assists/ minutes played)
Followed by a brief analysis.
Gareth Bale - 28 years old - Right wing - (28/ 11/ 7/ 1707)
Total dud of a rumor in my opinion: Gareth Bale is over-expensive for a player who can’t stay healthy and doesn’t fit into Bayern’s plans age-wise at 28. Check out this satirical article by our own John N. Dillon for a bit of fun. Bale is clearly not a match, and for that reason I won’t even go into his football qualities.
Chinese Super League
Yannick Carrasco - 24 years old - Left Wing - (30/ 4/ 7/ 1639)
A couple of weeks ago he would have been part of the La Liga division, but in a surprise move he and Nicolás Gaitan transferred to China in the winter window. It is a move that I don’t fully understand, but it could create a chance for Bayern, who were linked with Carrasco last summer.
In the previous installment, I highlighted the benefits of signing a winger who is a bit older than the young guns at 20-22, as it creates a better time frame for bringing players up through the academy. Carrasco fits this profile.
We saw what Carrasco can do when he hammered one in against Bayern from the edge of the box September 2016. He is fast, can dribble with both feet at pace and has the finishing skills to be utilised as a second striker. He can play in tight spaces but also has great speed. Able to play on both wings, he would potentially be a great utility player behind Müller and Coman.
While Carrasco’s numbers were not outstanding in his two and a half years at Atletico Madrid—mainly due to the fact that he was never a full 90 minute player—he managed to continually improve, going from 240 minutes per goal participation in year one to 181 in year two and 149 minutes per goal participation this year. Atletico is a team focused on defence, with Griezmann and another striker at the front as the focus of play; considering this, Carrasco’s stats aren’t that bad. He was actually the third highest goalscorer last season and fourth this season, despite the fact that he didn’t play in 9 games.
One massive concern I have with Carrasco is his extensive injury history. Since joining the Monaco first team in 2012 he has not had a full injury-free season. That should be something I’m used to as a Bayern fan with Ribery and Robben on the squad . . . but those guys are 10 years older than him!!!
Anthony Martial - 22 years old - Left wing - (38/ 11/ 10/ 1979)
In a recent article I wrote, reader Harisson brought Anthony Martial into play. Martial is a player that hasn’t been discussed or linked with Bayern in the media recently, but he makes too much sense not to be included in this list.
With Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard competing for the left wing, a move has recently been a topic in the media. Moreover, Martial’s contract expires 2019, so this summer might be the last chance for Manchester United to cash in if an agreement to renew his contract can’t be reached. The initial desire to move away seems to be there and, due to his contract situation, at a reduced price.
The next point that could make the move to Bayern very easy is ManU’s reported interest in Arturo Vidal, whose future at Bayern is uncertain. This could open the door for a player plus cash deal for Vidal, meaning no signing fee for Bayern. Manchester United could even throw in 28-year-old Matteo Darmian, who barely gets any game time but could join Bayern as a backup for Kimmich should Rafinha’s contract not be renewed.
Martial thus might desire to leave the club, and there could potentially be a great business deal for Bayern given his contract and Vidal’s situation, but does Martial fit in at Bayern? I will let you decide for yourself.
Martial has the same amount of goal participations as Müller this season, with 100 minutes less game time than the Bavarian. If we take league goals alone, Martial is in 14th place in the Premier League, while everyone above him has played 317-1192 minutes more. Of the players above him in that list, only the top four players have a better minutes-per-goal ratio. There are only two strikers, besides Robert Lewandowski, who took fewer minutes per goal in the Bundesliga. On top of all this, Martial’s total goals would put him in joint 10th place with Leon Bailey, although Bailey has played 240 minutes more.
Martial’s minutes-per-goal-participation has hovered around 160 for the last 3 seasons, but he has improved that to 94 minutes this year. I think he could do a minimum of the same at Bayern. He has proven himself at a club of similar size to Bayern, even though he has not yet reached world-class level. Martial would be the third french winger at Bayern after Ribery and Coman, who have both enjoyed success. Not a bad premise.
Leroy Sané - 22 years old - Left/Right wing - (39/ 12/ 15/ 2744)
Let me start this by saying the following: do I think that this move is likely? No! Leroy Sané seems to be somewhat of a favourite for Pep Guardiola, and you can’t say that he is playing badly by any means. In addition to that, with the amount of money Manchester City are pumping into the squad AND doing well, they are establishing a winning culture. A combination that should be exciting for any player.
But Bayern have tradition, a history of winning (on the international stage too and against Man City as a matter of fact) and he could join a team with a bunch of the German national team starters in it.
The words “breaking the bank” have been thrown around a lot. So why would you do it for someone who hasn’t proven himself at a Bayern-level team (Werner, Brandt, Bailey, Pulisic, Lemar, Malcom, Thauvin, Martins) or been at a top team but not reached world class (Draxler, Carrasco, Martial), when Sané has gone to a top team and proven himself. In addition to those criteria, he is a young German national, something the brass at Bayern love. The main question remains whether he would even be available.
On that matter: the Telegraph recently linked Manchester City with a move for several wingers including Thomas Lemar, Eden Hazard and Riyad Mahrez. If two of those signings materialise in the summer, then why wouldn’t it open the door for Sané to move to Bayern? Call me an optimist, but I think it could happen. Especially IF—please don’t go crazy people—Lewandowski is sold this summer and Bayern have a lot of money to work with.
Gelson Martins - 22 years old - Right wing - (38/ 11/ 10/ 3048)
In January, our own zepapires looked at rumors concerning Gelson Martins and a possible move to Bayern, noting that Bayern sent representatives to watch him play. Martins reportedly has “superb dribbling, good passing and pace. Recalling Bayern’s own Kingsley Coman.” Not a bad letter of recommendation.
Before I look further at Martins's numbers, there is another aspect for which I would strongly advise getting Martins—a human aspect. Renato Sanches has had obvious problems settling in at Bayern. Giving Sanches up now would be a huge waste in my opinion. Putting a fellow Portuguese national a couple years older at his side may help Sanches settle in and shine like he did in the Euros. In that sense, you would be buying more than just one player, making Martins's reported €60 million buyout clause a relative bargain.
Going back to his skills. Martins does very much mirror Coman; he can even play on either wing just like the Frenchman, although Martins favours the right. He is athletic and has elite speed, bridging large areas of the field very fast. He has also shown that he can run circles around deep sitting defenders, similar to Coman’s performance vs Besiktas. The importance of this skill can’t be emphasised enough, given what Bayern face week in, week out. On top of that Martins has spent time at right-back and right wing-back, especially in his youth, meaning that he can and is willing to do some dirty defensive work.
Over the last two seasons Martins has averaged a goal participation every 170 minutes. This season he has brought that number down to every 149 minutes. That included scoring a goal in every competition he his team was in. While the numbers alone might not blow you away, one thing that really sets him apart from most of the other candidates is his raw athleticism and the fact that he knows how to pair it with technique to beat people. He gets himself in all the right positions and has a decent finish. All he needs is to improve his crosses and move to Bayern.
As many people have noted in the comments on the previous two instalments of this series, multiple winger signings are the most probable way forward. Out of this group, I believe that each of the last three (Martial, Sane, Martins) could make an excellent addition to the team and that Bayern wouldn’t be going wrong with any of them.
If both Robben and Ribery leave, and you decide that either Müller shouldn’t play on the wing or that Gnabry should stay out on loan, then why not sign all three? That would make a statement in international football and set Bayern up for a long time. But don’t worry: I haven’t gone delusional, I know this won’t happen.
To wrap it all up
If I were Bayern and I were looking to move on from Ribery and Robben, my to-do list would look something like this:
- keep Gnabry out on loan
- is there any possibility that we can get Sané? (the unlikely option).
- try to make a deal with United for Martial, possibly including Darmian if Rafinha goes—that would allow me to move on from an aging Vidal and get youth and a decent backup in return without paying any money (filling two needs)—the typical business-Bayern-deal.
- either way sign Martins, even if you pay the €60 million. Bayern would get almost a carbon copy of Coman for the right wing and another Portuguese player in the team to help Sanches. Even if Martins doesn’t help Sanches and “only” turns out to be a great winger, he is just slightly more expensive than Malcom. He works on so many levels—the human touch.
- if you sign these guys, wait on Werner and sign him as a striker as soon as possible in the next few years.
Let me know in the comments what you think of these players, as well as those from the previous two parts, and who you you would be looking at to hire in the summer and why. I look forward to hearing from you.
Stats courtesy of transfermarkt.com