It has been obvious that some of Bayern Munich’s summer transfer moves have not worked out as planned. Bild’s Lena Wurzenberger and Heiko Niedderer took a run at assessing what the problems are with each player and here is what they came up with (in an abbreviated and condensed version):
- Marc Roca: Currently too slow and needs more time to develop.
- Bouna Sarr: Makes a lot of defensive mistakes and not a viable threat pushing forward.
- Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting: A popular player, but not an all-star level substitute.
- Leroy Sané: Seems indifferent at times and needs to exert more effort and show a commitment to defending.
- Douglas Costa: Bayern’s weakest winger, who has been unimpressive.
- Tiago Dantas: Will get an opportunity to prove his mettle with the senior-team.
- Alexander Nübel: The future in between the sticks...but when will Manuel Neuer be ready to cede his position?
- Tanguy Nianzou: The young Frenchman could be Jerome Boateng’s heir.
That is not exactly a strong endorsement for any of the players, even if Hansi Flick is not worried any of them at this point.
As far as Bayern Munich fans go, opinions seem mixed. Here is what we see so far:
What we hear from fans: Roca has looked good when given the opportunity and deserves more chances.
What we think: There is something about Roca that Flick is not happy with. We’ve heard some inklings of issues with his speed/quickness and also with his positioning, but nothing altogether damning from Flick. Clearly, though, there is at least some level of discomfort coming from the manager.
Where this is going: Roca likely won’t have an early exit from Bayern Munich after this season. There was a fair amount of value in his acquisition, but if Bayern Munich decides to add another defensive midfielder to the mix, it can be assumed that Roca might be buried too deep on the depth chart and could look to leave at some point next season. Bayern Munich has been linked to several defensive-minded midfielders, so Roca’s future in Bavaria is nothing short of “in flux”, but might not really be an issue until 2021/2022.
What we hear from fans: Not much support.
What we think: This acquisition never really made sense — especially since it came with a four-year deal for a 28-year-old.
Where this is going: It might be hard to sell Sarr. He will likely get a chance to take over for Benjamin Pavard if the incumbent starter cannot get his act together, but — based on what we’ve seen — it would be tough to think Sarr is a long-term solution at right-back. Regardless of how you feel about him as a player, four years was WAY too long of a deal.
What we hear from fans: Not much derogatory; people just not have seen him play enough.
What we think: Choupo-Moting is a deep reserve who really should not be bashed for his lack of production; he barely plays. He is fine as a back-up right now — and seems to have shown enough to make Joshua Zirkzee expendable — even if for just a loan spell.
Where this is going: Choupo-Moting’s contract expires in June. I’d expect this to be his first and only year with Bayern Munich.
What we hear from fans: Legit criticism, mixed with the reality that he needs time to adjust, and everyone involved with the club defending him
What we think: Sure, there probably should be an adjustment period, but the matters at hand appear to be more effort-related than skill-related. Being engaged and showing a willingness to track back are not skill issues...they are desire issues. There were whispers of this kind of thing being a problem with Sané while at Manchester City, but it seems way too early to think they cannot be brought up to speed. You could even look at Sané’s latest effort against Mainz 05 as evidence that he received his message from Flick loud and clear.
Where this is going: Nowhere. Bayern Munich staked its reputation to this transfer and will give it every opportunity to yield results. Chances are very, very good that the move will work out in the end.
What we hear from fans: A lot of excitement about his skill.
What we think: Skill appears to be in abundance with Dantas, but physically he us extremely slight. Dantas was, however, the only moved that could be considered a “Flick move.” Just being able to say, “What a Flick move!” makes this all worth it.
Where this is going: Dantas is on a one-year loan that nearly everyone expects Bayern Munich to make permanent for roughly €8 to €9 million. Barring him completely flaming out in the next six months, I’d expect the Bayern Munich to give Flick exactly what he wants after sticking him with some of the apparent headaches listed above.
What we hear from fans: A lot of criticism and a lot of people already planning his exit.
What we think: Costa is the fourth winger and he’s played like it. Had Inter Milan not taken such a hardline stance in the negotiations for a player it did not even really want (Ivan Perisic), Costa would have never come back to Bavaria. Costa still might have some of that eye-catching skill, but he does not appear to be a great fit. In the end, though, he is the fourth winger and his impact really shouldn’t be that big.
Where this is going: A one-way ticket back to Turin in June.
What we hear from fans: Nothing...the poor kid has been injured almost all season.
What we think: Nianzou has made one appearance and was not good. It is way too early to make a judgement on him and there is nowhere near the sample size needed. Like Dantas, Nianzou might need to bulk up a bit to handle the rigors of this level of player.
Where this is going: Nowhere. Nianzou is young (19) and will be given every opportunity to prove himself. Right now, he looks more like a prospect for center-back than defensive-midfielder, but none of that can be settled until he gets healthy.
What we hear from fans: Not much, except some wondering if getting Nübel was necessary.
What we think: At 24, Nübel is closer to being in the prime of his career rather than being a prospect. Manuel Neuer has been absolutely fantastic and has not shown many signs of slowing down. It is reasonable to think that Neuer could have as many as two-to-three top-end years left in his body. It is very unclear if Nübel is willing to wait around that long.
Where this is going: Nübel is going to have to do some soul-searching. Word has been that Nübel has been reluctant to take a loan spell, which reportedly played a part in Sven Ulreich moving to Hamburger SV. Playing time looks like it will be sparse for at least the next year-and-a-half at Bayern Munich, so Nübel will have to decide if this situation as Neuer’s understudy is the best option for him during this juncture of his career.