As has been speculated for weeks, Jamal Musiala has unofficially won the starting No. 10 position for the team, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is currently edging Müller in the race to play at the No. 9.
After years of being irreplaceable, Müller might now be on the outside looking in:
The 2014 world champion is no longer untouchable – not even for those responsible, who have long been considering the scenario in their longer-term squad plans that Müller could retire after his contract expires on June 30, 2024.
For his part, Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann is deflecting some of the recent speculation and prodding from reporters. Over the past two weeks, Nagelsmann has referenced the team’s heavy, upcoming workload as an assurance that everyone will get ample playing time. In addition, Nagelsmann has made sure to go out of his way to ensure everyone knows that Müller is still a valuable member of the squad with quotes like these:
“Thomas is firmly in my thoughts!”
“We will change a lot! (Müller) is an important player for FC Bayern and an important player for me.”
“If he makes 17 assists again this time in the second half of the season, then we’ll all be happy. If he has ten assists and ten goals, we’re happy too. We need Thomas and we are glad that he is healthy again!”
Many fans would love to see a rejuvenated version of Müller win a position in the starting XI, but it looks to be a longshot at this point. Per Hau, Nagelsmann will not consider using Müller at wing, so he will almost certainly be playing second fiddle to both Musiala and Choupo-Moting at their respective positions — at least for the time being.