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Opinion: What Dayot Upamecano’s signing means for Bayern Munich’s defense

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Now that FC Bayern has officially announced the signing of RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, I’m going to take a look to see what the transfer means for Bayern’s defense.

FC Bayern Muenchen v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

He’s here. It’s real. It’s official. RB Leipzig’s exciting defender Dayot Upamecano is joining Bayern Munich on a five-year contract at the end of the season:

So, what does Dayot Upamecano’s transfer mean for Bayern’s defense? Well first things first, he helps fill the immediate hole expected to be left by David Alaba’s somewhat stunning exit that is forthcoming the end of this season. One can reasonably discern that FC Bayern moved extremely quickly for Dayot given (1) his release clause of €42.5 million was relatively cheap for his quality (Transfermarkt has his value at approximately €60.00m) and (2) the aforementioned impending departures of David Alaba and Jérôme Boateng this summer. So let’s take a deeper look at his potential role moving forward.

More competition for Lucas Hernandez?

This is the first thing that came to mind with the official confirmation of Dayot Upamecano. Mind you, this is entirely contingent on the transfer of Jérôme Boateng. If Boateng leaves, we could very well see Hernandez and Upamecano in the center. Niklas Süle has had a rather down year, but considering he is coming off a severe ACL injury, it remains to be seen if Süle can regain that lighting quick mobility that made him so good last year. But if Boateng stays, that means there are two RCB in Süle and Boateng. Pavard and Sarr have the RB position locked down and LB is lockdown by Alphonso Davies. That leaves Bayern’s two most expensive CB’s in Hernandez and Upamecano competing for playing time at LCB.

I myself am a fan of Hernandez. While I was critical of him at the start given his exorbitant price tag, he has settled in nicely and has played extremely well when given the opportunity to start over Alaba or Davies. So the news that Upamecano is joining might not hit him too well given that it most likely means that he will have to continue to fight for playing time.

Upamecano to start?

Another question this signing brings with is, was Upamecano promised a certain amount of playing time? Word is, Manchester United came in with a strong offer but Upamecano still chose FC Bayern. I am sure he is well aware of David Alaba’s leaving, but is his signing also a sign of Boateng’s departure? For someone as talented and young (22) as Dayot Upamecano, coming into a situation in which he is not a regular starter would be extremely questionable. He could see his development suffer, just like we saw of Renato Sanches and Corentin Tolisso. I’m inclined to believe that Upamecano must believe he will be getting regular playing time as justification of his transfer to FC Bayern. While it is simply my speculation, it would make a lot of sense.

Speed. Lots and lots of speed.

Finally, let’s look at what Dayot’s skillset brings to FC Bayern’s defense. First thing that immediately pops off is he’s incredibly fast. While he is shorter than both Süle (6’5”) and Boateng (6’3”), he beats Lucas Hernandez by an inch (6’0”) by coming in at 6’1”. Out of those four, Dayot is arguably the quickest of the bunch at this moment. I know that’s a controversial take given Süle’s speed, but as we’ve seen this year it has not come back yet since his ACL injury. Furthermore, if you’ve watched RB Leipzig this season at all you’d know that Dayot was the marshal of the defense that leads the Bundesliga with only 18 goals conceded thus far. He was always in the right place at the right time and often times was one giving out directions for the other defenders. While his passing could be improved, he was never afraid to push forward and would operate well under Hansi Flick’s high-line style of play. His speed, as you can see below, can compensate for through-balls and his lengthly frame allows for reaching balls that other CB’s might not be able to get too.

I, for one, am very excited about Dayot Upamecano. He is young and supremely talented. If he is a one for one replacement for David Alaba, he’ll fit right on it. Servus, Dayot!