When Bayern Munich bought the talented Strasbourg-native Michael Cuisance this summer from Borussia Mönchengladbach for a meager fee of €10 million, glass-half-full type of fans saw the transfer as a possible steal of the summer. After all, Cuisance’s first season in the Bundesliga was a definite success. He became Die Fohlen’s Player of the Season at the end of the 2017-18 season after breaking into the first team as an 18-year-old. During the summer of 2018, he was part of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship Team of the Tournament XI.
Cuisance’s 2018-19 was far less successful. Playing 13 fewer games than in his debut year, Cuisance ultimately decided to leave Mönchengladbach to play more. Why he choose Bayern Munich, arguably one of the most difficult places for young talents to gain playing time was a decision that puzzled many, including Gladbach’s sporting director Max Eberl and Coach Marco Rose. Rose seemed glad to get rid of Cuisance as rumors of a poor attitude from the Frenchman persisted throughout the summer of 2019.
Players such as Christoph Kramer publicly criticized Cuisance, suggesting that the Frenchman lacked common decency. Yet all the people who had criticized Cuisance agreed on one thing: the talent is there. Cuisance is not the first and will not be the last Bayern transfer who arrives at Säbener Strasse with an attitude problem. Sometimes it works out. Take Franck Ribery for example. Sure, the drama may not have disappeared from Ribery’s life in Munich, but his success both on and off the pitch made him a legend in Bayern history.
Another reason why Cuisance’s arrival excited positive expectations was the transfer fee. Renato Sanches, Breno, and Xherdan Shaqiri were all three foreign talents bought for higher transfer fees, and that price tag may have added to the already immense pressure of life at Bayern.
As things stand right now, Cuisance will join the long list of foreign talents who failed to make their mark at Säbener Strasse. Cuisance has played two games in the Bundesliga for Die Roten and a total of 30 minutes. Instead, Cuisance has found more game time with Bayern II in the 3.Liga.
Has his attitude improved? Bayern II coach Sebastian Hoeness decided not to start the Strasbourg-native in a game against Magdeburg because supposedly Cuisance could not retrieve his cleats from the locker room on time. Not helpful if you want to impress the higher-ups. The fact that new coach Hansi Flick does not rely on him and that he is competing with Joshua Kimmich, Thiago, Leon Goretzka, Corentin Tolisso, Thomas Muller, Philippe Coutinho, and Javi Martinez makes his prospects at Munich even dimmer.
Nevertheless, it is still early. Although the signs for yet another foreign talent failing at Munich are there, it would be unfair dismiss Cuisance completely just yet. Hasan Salihamidzic still believes Cuisance can develop into a first-eleven player:
I am sure he will try hard to make his first steps here at FC Bayern, working together with all our world-class players. We expect him to develop, I am glad that he is here with us.
Time will tell how Bayern will remember the talented midfielder from Strasbourg.