In an era where truebred 10s are a diminishing breed, it seems like replacing Thomas Müller, Bayern’s trusty raumdeuter and one of the best CAMs to have ever played the game, would be a daunting task. After Havertz’s transfer to Chelsea, many felt that Bayern would have to wait a few years to find another candidate for Bayern’s all-important 10 spot. Enter a Hungarian wunderkid.
Dominik Szoboszlai may be a handful to pronounce, but the name has risen to prominence, being linked to every big European club. ‘Sobozy’, as we at BFW like to call him, is nothing short of a teenage sensation and has lit up the Austrian BuLi for multiple seasons now. He is quite possibly one of the most coveted young midfielders in the world at present, and any club would be happy to add him to their roster, including Bayern.
So without further ado, here’s why Brazzo and team should get their PowerPoints ready for a talk with Sobozy’s representatives:
Bayern’s post-Müller plan
Bayern Munich has been blessed with Thomas Müller for over a decade. A superb attacking midfielder, who can also play the role of secondary striker and to a lesser extent winger, Müller’s versatility, combined with his unreal game intelligence and amazing drive and passion has led to Bayern enjoying a lot of success both domestically and in Europe. Few players have had a bigger impact at the club, and this is why replacing him will be so difficult.
But what if I told you that there exists another CAM, who is great across the midfield, has played as a winger multiple times and is a great interpreter of space? Many felt Kai Havertz was destined to be Müller’s heir, but after his high-profile transfer to Chelsea, it seemed like Bayern had to wait some time before another player with similar attributes emerged. I say, we might have dodged a bullet, passing on Havertz, because in Szoboszlai, we might just have an upgrade.
Sobozy is young (turned 20 last month) and stands tall at 6”2, with a very strong build. Having such size and strength at such a young age, coupled with his superb skill, makes him a very good long-term Müller replacement option. His speed, vision and finishing abilities are all reminiscent of our very own raumdeuter, and his skill and finesse on the ball, coupled with his movement off the ball mean we’ll have a game-changer in our hands.
A transfer needn’t guarantee minutes from the start... he can learn the trade from Müller while offering his services at other positions, and fill in for Müller whenever required. This is Bayern after all, and he will get to play when injuries befall the squad as usual.
Versatile, and superb at multiple positions
Sobozy can play as a 10 (Müller’s role) and he does it exceptionally well. At Salzburg, he’s been driving the offense, playing incisive passes to his teammates up front, and bagging some goals himself. Last season, Sobozy was directly involved in 31(!!!) goals, scoring 17 and assisting 14. He was awarded the Austrian BuLi ‘Player of the Season’ award and has started the current season in similar fashion, scoring 8 and assisting 9 in just 16 appearances.
He has also shown to be more than capable of manning the 8. With Tolisso struggling to impress and Cuisance likely to stay in Marseille, Goretzka is currently Bayern’s only viable option there, with Kimmich/Roca given the DM/regista (6) role. Since Goretzka will certainly require rest with his lung-busting shifts, Sobozy will be left with significant minutes, which he can use to further improve his capabilities and get to grips with Flick’s system.
The Hungarian can also play as an inverted winger, and although that is far from his preferred position, this could mean even more depth for Bayern’s injury-prone wing department. He has a wicked right foot, and can send in superb balls in from the left, or hit the occasional belter, which he so often does. Kind of like Coutinho with more accuracy and consistency, if you will.
However, there is one area where Sobozy could be the undisputed first choice, and that is in dead ball situations. I have seen a few games (highlights, not live games) of RB Salzburg and the Hungarian NT, and never have I seen a player more assured when taking a free-kick or a corner. His long-range efforts are almost always scorchers, his crosses are perfect and he generates a goal-opportunity out of every dead-ball. Yes, Bayern have great players in that department in Lewandowski, Alaba, Sané and Kimmich, but this guy is something else.
Has his head and heart at the right place
Szoboszlai is very passionate, and tries to give his all every time he’s on the pitch. Those of you who saw the Bayern-Salzburg ties may have noticed how Sobozy is always on the run, always looking to pile up the pressure on the defense or move the ball up the field with purpose. This aspect of his play is arguably more valuable to Bayern than anything else, and fits right into Flick’s system.
His drive and hunger to create more goals rubs off on the rest of the players, who function around him like a well-oiled unit. This could only bode well for the attack, since Müller has been doing just that for Bayern. One area where Sobozy’s game might have to improve, however, is his defense. He is not that quick to track back, and can be quite clumsy with his challenges, getting into awkward situations or taking odd defensive angles. However, if anyone can rectify that, it is Flick, and it isn’t too hard to assume that he’ll get those aspects of his game fine-tuned.
He’s shown a willingness to work on himself and improve, and that’s what matters. He works his socks off all the time, and seems to be a level headed player. Since those are the sort of attributes Bayern value, he’d fit in great with the rest of the squad.
Familiar with the German culture
Sobozy speaks German, which ticks off a very important box. Since Austria and Bavaria are so close in proximity (practically neighboring areas), there is a lot of cultural overlap between the regions, and even the German spoken in Austria has a close resemblance to that spoken in Munich, which could really help him adjust quickly. Communication will also be very easy, with the majority of the squad players able to speak German fluently.
Furthermore, we won’t see much complaining about the weather, unlike a certain Colombian (good riddance!), since Austrian weather is basically Munich weather.
Low transfer fee
According to the Athletic, Sobozy has a €25 million release clause which, in all honesty, is an ABSOLUTE STEAL. The clause is set to expire in the middle of next month, and with Arsenal, Juventus, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona rumoured to be some of the teams in the mix to grab his signature, Bayern may have to act fast. Fixture congestion and player fatigue are big problems, and getting him now before another club jumps in might be the best way to proceed.
However, Bayern could also try and work out a deal with Sobozy, where he could join the team next season. Club-player negotiation is key, and this is where Bayern could hold an advantage over the other clubs. If they are able to work out a deal with the player and the club that sees him join next summer, this could be great for all parties involved. We’ve already done this with Goretzka before, in what was one of Bayern’s best transfers ever.
Kimmich, Goretzka and Müller could continue in the starting 11, Tolisso gets more time to prove himself and the Bayern management gets more time to assess how the team will look next season. This would also give Bayern more time to get the transfer fee ready, putting them in a better position financially.
All these factors make Szoboszlai’s transfer a no-brainer, and you couldn’t envision a better post-Müller plan. All aboard the Sobozy train! CHOO CHOO!!!!
Here’s a Szoboszlai scouting video for you all. Prost!