This won’t exactly qualify as a hot take, but Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is widely considered the best young forward in the world. The 2020 Golden Boy-winner just keeps amazing everyone with his performances — as evidenced by his four-goal effort against Hertha Berlin last Saturday.
And Bayern Munich should go after him...like as soon as they possibly can, which looks like 2022.
Haaland just isn’t a talent...he’s a generational star. Blessed with the size, speed, strength, and ability that leaves most football savants salivating, Haaland is a true do-it-all, score-in-every-way-possible center forward.
Haaland is lethal with either foot and in the air. Haaland can beat you with long runs from his own end or with compact, explosive bursts in the box. Haaland’s understanding of space and his ability to lose defenders is borderline supernatural.
Simply put, the Norwegian is a freak — and everything you would want in the next generation Robert Lewandowski.
So, can Bayern Munich looking into its crystal ball, cross-check its “shadow team”, and find a way to ensure Bavaria is his next stop after Signal Iduna Park?
The answer is a firm...maybe?
Haaland is rumored to have a €75 million release clause in his contract after the 2021/2022 season, while Lewandowski has a contract that runs through the 2022/2023 season. Barring a situation where Bayern Munich acquires Haaland and allows him to play elsewhere for a year (not likely), there would be some “generational striker” overlap.
So, how would that work with two stars for one position?
Flick has a proclivity to using a 4-2-3-1 formation, but let’s just ponder — just kicking it around if you will — what a Bavarian squad might look like if Bayern Munich pulls the trigger on a deal for Haaland. Making the assumption that Thomas Müller and Lewandowski are both still in top form at that time, could Flick adapt to a 3-5-2 formation to accommodate the Norwegian striker?
Yes, he could and here’s how:
Bench: Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Kingsley Coman, Tanguy Nianzou, Lars Lukas Mai, Marc Roca, Jamal Musiala, Fiete Arp, and Alexander Nübel.
I’m looking at this from a perspective using these ideas:
- This is a short-term fix (playing two strikers) that would be used to justify a long-term solution (Haaland).
- Flick is still the manager and still is able to manage his roster — and personalities —effectively.
- Lewandowski, Müller, and Neuer are still top-end players. If not, well, just look at the bench.
- You have to survive one year with having Lewandowski and Haaland...so why not use them together?
- If Lewandowski — and Müller for that matter — both earn even longer stays, they would be at the age where being a regular start would not and should not be guaranteed.
- David Alaba will leave the team. If not, he could easily slide into the left center-back role.
- Truthfully, I don’t expect Nübel to be content — and around — for that long either, but we’ll say he sticks around. If not, insert any back-up goalkeeper.
- Joshua Zirkzee will move on and Fiete Arp could still be in Munich.
- With Alphonso Davies and Benjamin Pavard both prone to wander too far upfield at times, having an extra center-back, along with the double-pivot of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, might be welcomed insurance for their offensive aggression.
- That final center-back spot...okay, I’ve got Chris Richards in there because I am huge believer in his talent, vision, and passing ability, but you really could have Nianzou or Mai there as well. Both are regarded as legitimate prospects.
- Overall, Flick would be tactically flexible and be able to shift between formations from game-to-game depending on which personnel combinations.
Whither Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, and Kingsley Coman you ask? Well, they are the “next men up” on the front-line. For one year — and a lot of lineup juggling to keep those other players fresh — I think Flick could make it work...and I trust Flick to delicately handle an overcrowded front-line with big egos.
Chances are, however, that at least one of those three players (Sane, Gnabry, Coman) could move on by that time. Regardless, let’s assume all three players remain and are part of the squad.
A talent like Haaland does not come around often and Bayern Munich could be uniquely poised to smoothly transition from having the world’s best striker to the world’s next best striker pretty easily.
To me, this shouldn’t happen...it has to happen.
Will it? Probably not, but man...what a squad that could be.