We’ve got two quick transfer window updates as it pertains to Bayern Munich’s striker situation for 2022/23. First, kicker reports backup Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is likely to stay and continue in this role for a third season with the Rekordmeister. Second, multiple outlets report Joshua Zirkzee has a developing market and is likely out.
Zirkzee has no shortage of interested parties, and his management has been sounding out the market for some time. Ajax Amsterdam has set its sights on him following the departure of Sébastien Haller. But clubs from England and Italy are also showing interest in the Dutch U21 international. A move within Germany is also conceivable.
Zirkzee, reportedly unfavored by Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann, wants consistent playing time — which he also won’t get in Munich.
No solid offers for Zirkzee are reported, but he’s coming off a productive loan spell in Belgium with RSC Anderlecht (38 matches, 16 goals). Choupo-Moting, meanwhile, was reported to have performed “not always...as expected” in the previous campaign but remains valued for his strength and heading off the bench.
This seems like the sensible move on both fronts. Choupo is integrated with the first team and happy here in his squad role, while Zirkzee hasn’t yet stuck with the first team under either of the last two coaches. Both have expiring contracts, but Zirkzee is a young commodity (21) while Choupo is 33.
Choupo has also done reasonably well at Bayern in each of the last two years. Last season, including the UEFA Champions League and DFB-Pokal, he had nine goals and five assists and was frequently called off the bench to help Bayern adjust their shape up front. Bayern are apparently going something of a striker-less route this year, but in Choupo they have a hard-working target man who will offer a needed dimension.
The shame will be if he’s to leave on a free, which looks quite likely should Bayern go after a top striker, like Harry Kane, next summer. Then again, perhaps everyone involved — Sadio Mané, Serge Gnabry, Mathys Tel, and Choupo himself — will perform to such a level in their different roles that another high-profile, high-cost pursuit will be deemed unnecessary.
As for Zirkzee, he’s made a very positive bounce-back over the course of the last year. But in this position, at Bayern, a way forward is hard to imagine. As decent poaching instincts as he showed against D.C. United, the level of quality in the Bayern attack, present and future, is too darn high.
The question will be whether Bayern can find a willing partner, and how fast.