Bayern Munich recently announced the extension of Serge Gnabry. A key player in the squad that won the treble not so long ago, Gnabry seems the long-term core German player that Bayern love to have. He was unsurprisingly viewed as another important bit of business for the board in this transfer window. Still, might the extension cause problems down the road?
The key worry is if player and team are moving in different directions. A formation like the 3-5-2 can really offer only one slot between Gnabry, Leroy Sané, and Kingsley Coman. This extension has the potential to result in dressing room discontent — unless coach Julian Nagelsmann plays a more traditionally Bayern formation with two wingers covered by two fullbacks.
Nags, however, is a man that seems to spurn tradition.
Sané and Coman have contracts until 2025 and 2027 respectively. Add in Sadio Mané (signed to 2025) to the equation and that’s four top-quality wingers. This is great depth, especially considering Bayern’s injury record. Having said that, with Robert Lewandowski sold to Barcelona and the 3-5-2 being a favored formation in Nagelsmann’s toolbox, the wingers could be cramped.
Let’s consider how the 3-5-2 would look. Alphonso Davies and Noussair Mazraoui will likely be the wingbacks. With that back five, plus two central midfielders, plus Müller, we have only the two forwards remaining — neither of which needs to be stuck in the 9 zone as a traditional striker. And one of those positions is going to belong to Sadio Mané.
For the final remaining spot, then, there’s still Coman, and Sané, and Gnabry. Gnabry might be viewed as the most experienced as a striker, but that won’t be an absolute necessity. With Thomas Müller Tokyo drifting all over the place and dynamic midfielders like Leon Goretzka, either Sané or Coman could play up top — drifting wide or cutting in as they have done in a 4-2-3-1.
So, either Coman or Sané is still a reasonable shout for top choice over Gnabry, and Bayern are also apparently not done at eyeing new forwards, in both the short and long term:
So if this is the case, it boils down to whether there’s really enough playing time to go around for the entire trio of high-quality and high-wage wingers. On paper at least, there’s some reason to doubt — and the succession of big-money extensions at the position could leave Bayern in a compromised or at least financially unbalanced position.
That is a chance that Bayern have taken with extending Gnabry. Don’t get me wrong, I have been an admirer of Gnabry and knowing we’ll be seeing him in a Bayern shirt for the foreseeable future is very appealing. But, having a content and happy dressing room is even more important for everyone involved.
Let us know if what you think — is there enough room for everyone or will this come back to bite the team?