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Mannschaft Planen: Bolstering the front lines

Let’s say Gnabry is gone. Who do we purchase in his stead?

FC Bayern München v SpVgg Greuther Fürth - Bundesliga Photo by L. Theising/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Of Bayern Munich’s many contract extensions, the one that has seemed the most topsy-turvy has been the saga of one Serge Gnabry. Previously it seemed almost dead certain he would extend, but as the days go by in silence it seems less and less likely. A lack of contract extension would see Bayern looking to sell Gnabry this summer to raise funds, but it would also leave a gap in the forward line. Gnabry would be without a clear role once Nagelsmann officially shifts to a back three, but the funds gained from selling him could be used to bring in a player who can wreak havoc in the right interior area. Let’s look at some of the options.

Unlike previous Mannschaft Planen articles, as the very concept of purchasing any of these players hinges on the future of Serge Gnabry, likelihood of transfer will not be taken into account. This is purely players I feel would be good for Bayern Munich to purchase from any funds gained by the sale of Gnabry.

Pedro Gonçalves

Sporting CP v GD Estoril Praia - Liga Portugal Bwin Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Pedro Gonçalves has been the best player in Portugal this season. I can say that now since Luis Díaz has jumped ship to Liverpool. In Sporting Lisbon’s 3-4-2-1, “Pote” has often occupied a role exploring the half-spaces sat just behind Paulinho up front, a role that would see him fit seamlessly into Bayern’s 3-4-2-1. He has 7 goals and 6 assists in Portugal, along with 4 goal and an assist in less than 4 games’ worth of minutes in the Champions League. Beyond just the numbers, Pote’s ability on the ball is undeniable. Originally an attack-minded midfielder, a change in role has seen him reach new heights, and this would only increase if he were to swap shirts for the red of Bavaria. Turning 24 this summer, he has many a year still to come, including three more than Gnabry.

With 4 seasons still left on his contract in the summer of 2022, he would not come for anything south of €40m. This is a hefty price tag, but with Serge Gnabry being a player with an elite reputation, that much could easily be generated by his sale.

Likelihood: -
Player Quality: 10/10
Potential Price: 7/10
TOTAL: 17/20 (85%)

Ludovic Blas

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-NANTES-PSG Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images

Next up, FC Nantes’ attacking lynchpin: Ludovic Blas. While his performances this season have not been to the same level as his frankly elite 2020/21 season, he has still managed a return of 8 goals and 2 assists in Ligue 1, as well as 4 goals in 3 cup appearances. Playing primarily as a 10, Blas has found himself on the right flank just as often. An uncanny ability to find pockets of spaces where few other players would see anything, Blas has pure positioning instinct and intelligence rare even at the highest level. At 24 years of age, he has more than enough time still on the clock. While his passing can sometimes leave something to be desired, his skill on the ball is undeniable as he regularly beats players inside the opposition box and also has a great finish on him.

Blas would not cost more than €20m, meaning Bayern would stand to make a large profit if they were to sell Gnabry and purchase Blas. However, the difference in quality between the two players is more than evident, and even if just as an attacking option rather than a starter, Gnabry would be the better option even on a higher wage.

Likelihood: -
Player Quality: 8/10
Potential Price: 9/10
TOTAL: 17/20 (85%)

Gaëtan Laborde

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-MONTPELLIER-RENNES Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images

In all honesty, this entire article has been a case of ‘Cyler’s darlings’, but here is my Cyler darling of all Cyler darlings: Gaëtan Laborde. At Montpellier, Laborde set the Ligue 1 alight alongside Andy Delort, dragging the team to an 8th place finish. Cutting in from the right, Laborde notched an incredible 16 goals and 8 assists, and after transferring to Rennes he has only gotten better, scoring 14 and assisting 7 this season so far. The guy is genuinely cracked, and I’m surprised no big team has sniffed around him yet. At 27, he’s not the youngest, but he’s so good he could challenge Thomas Müller tomorrow if purchased (although I think we all know there’s no way Müller is going to be pushed out of the club).

In my opinion, Laborde is the best right sided forward in France, and is only going to get better as he approaches his prime. He should not be going for more than €20m, although that figure could be slightly higher considering he joined Rennes just a season ago. Either way, he is a massive talent who is already refined and ready to slot into Bayern’s front three. I can only imagine what kind of plays Laborde, Lewandowski and Sané or Müller could craft together.

Likelihood: -
Player Quality: 10/10
Potential Price: 9/10
TOTAL: 19/20 (95%)


Are there any more players you think Bayern Munich could potentially scout as options if Gnabry were to leave? Let us know down below, as always.