A slow start to his Bayern Munich career probably wasn't what Ryan Gravenberch exactly envisioned when he decided to sign for the German Rekordmeister from Ajax. The 19-year-old midfield phenom was sought after in the transfer window, highly praised by Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann, and has flashed his skills on a few occasions. But those have been just that — few.
With the Men’s World Cup next month in Qatar, the Dutch international surely has a lot on his mind, and being stuck improving behind the scenes in Bavaria isn’t the most glamorous of scenarios. But patience is exactly what the Bayern bosses have to preach, with sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidžić the latest to chime in.
“Ryan is an outstanding player,” Brazzo said for Tz (via @iMiaSanMia) after Bayern’s DFB Pokal victory over FC Augsburg. “We know that we’ll have a lot of joy with him. There are phases where you play a bit less. But everyone can look forward to him.”
While players like Gravenberch arrived already touted as the future of Bayern’s midfield, it’s the present that he is having trouble breaking into — and who could blame him? Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, and a resurgent Marcel Sabitzer are all in front of him. And while Sabitzer’s year one to year two development in Munich can be a good example for the youngster, time is not on his side to make Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands team next month.
Against Augsburg, Gravenberch was an unused sub on a day where Bayern won 5-2 — and used only three of their allotted five. Moments like these may be tough to take, but in the long run, perhaps they’re tests of will — which will inspire progress in youngsters like Gravenberch and fellow new addition Mathys Tel, in their development as a professionals.