As Bayern Munich complete their analysis over the team's recent scoring struggles, a surprising new option has emerged as a possible, if temporary solution to the Bavarians’ striking woes. That's winger Kingsley Coman — recently out with a hamstring injury but now back and ready to play anywhere. Including, apparently, up top at striker.
From kicker, via @iMiaSanMia:
Kingsley Coman can well imagine playing upfront as a stopgap solution. A real #9 is to be signed next summer at the latest. As of now, the club has no plans to go for a striker in January, as long as the season targets are not completely at risk.
The long-term solution to a #9 — if that's needed — will likely need to wait until the 2023 summer transfer window, and it's all but an open secret who the hottest name on the market is at the moment. If you need a hint, it doesn't rhyme with Sadio Mané or Leroy Sané but it's spelled almost like it could; he plays for Tottenham Hotspur and his name rhymes with Durin's Bane. And his first name is Harry.
Coman playing up top is an interesting idea. It's not his preferred position and earlier this season, seemed poised to swap into the half-spaces — which would put him behind coach Julian Nagelsmann's front two. He hasn't been the model of prolific finishing in his tenure at Bayern, but he's scored some great goals in his day and has spoken about adding that dimension to his game this year.
Is this actually needed? Where would it leave Sadio Mané and Serge Gnabry? Even Mathys Tel?
Coman's strengths, at least demonstrably, have been at stretching the defense with take-ons on either wing. While Mané is familiar with that role and has played there recently for Bayern, some Liverpool FC fans would say his effectiveness on the flanks — and his once-electric pace — have been diminishing somewhat in recent years. It was his move to the center that brought a resurgence to himself and to the Reds last season. But the bosses at Bayern are reportedly seeing the Senegalese forward on the wings in the future.
Pace is one thing Coman possesses in extreme quantities — which, in Nagelsmann's very direct system of attacking, could be a crucial asset. As long as he can add the finishing touch, the standards of which are currently low across the board.
So it's not a bad idea at all to try out, especially if it helps push players like Jamal Musiala to the wing role, where many of us feel he'd excel.
The aim of the front four in Nagelsmann's 4-2-2-2 appears to be to flex into different looks depending on the matchups, and — if it works — it would be a useful ace up the sleeves to have. Against speedier wing play teams, Mané and Sané or Coman himself could still patrol the wings; against stubborn defenses, Musiala and Thomas Müller could pull the strings from behind and supply a lightning
However, I've also some growing unease at what I can't help but see as a degree of tinkering and experimentation mid-season that points almost to desperation — throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. At this point in the season, it's not a very comfortable position.