One of the priorities this offseason for coach Niko Kovac and the Bayern Munich board was to reduce the number of players on the roster and make it work more efficiently. Arturo Vidal leaving for Barcelona was a start, but he likely won’t be the last one to leave the club this summer.
Sebastian Rudy could be the next one on his way out. When asked about the roster size at his latest press conference, Kovac responded, “Should Sebastian leave us, we’d have 20 field players and 2 goal keepers. That’s a good amount.”
This statement seems to indicate that the head coach is ambivalent as to Rudy’s future in Munich which is never a good sign if you’re a player that is looking to stick around the Allianz Arena. So the question then becomes “who takes his place”?
With the departures of both Vidal and Rudy, Bayern’s midfield loses a lot of versatility, particularly at the 6 position. Javi Martinez is firmly entrenched in the defensive midfield, but as he just a mere hike away from being lost for the season, Vidal and Rudy provided cover in his absence. Without those two, who would fill the role?
When asked about this very issue, Kovac seemed comfortable with the options on the current roster. “Javi is a very good number 6, but I think that one or two players can also play this position. Thiago can play there, for example. I think that CoCo can also play there.”
Thiago or Correntin Tolisso both have experience at the 6, with Tolisso’s coming most recently for France. Most importantly, both players have the kind of versatility that any coach loves in the midfield.
In a related matter, Kovac seems fairly happy with the roster, regardless of any possible transfer of Rudy. “We want to relieve the problem of injury proneness somewhat this year, but we also have a good U23 team. With the great squad that we have, we can bring up 1, 2 or 3 players from U23 and occasionally use them”
This seems to confirm what many have already suspected: Kovac has the roster he likes and isn’t looking to add anyone else. The hat tip to the U23 was a nice touch, but let’s hope Bayern don’t find themselves in a situation, injury wise, where we need them for reinforcements.