Bayern Munich’s apparent decision to lock down striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is unsurprising and, in my view, a good piece of business for the German record champions. Still, Choupo-Moting is not the biggest name out there, and not all of the fanbase is accordingly convinced that Robert Lewandowski’s former understudy can truly be his heir.
Let’s review the risks and rewards.
Bayern doesn’t need a new striker now
The biggest bonus is stability. In Choupo, Bayern have a player fully integrated in the squad and also a perfect fit in manager Julian Nagelsmann’s schemes. Anybody else will be a projection as well as a commitment, no matter how talented. How are Liverpool FC faring with Darwin Núñez in year one? Will that giant investment come good?
These are questions Bayern can ill afford to spend time answering. A four-year contract for Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani or Juventus’ Dušan Vlahović, for example, will pay off if the player is both a terrific fit and Bayern-level quality in the Champions League. If not, Bayern will be looking very quickly to spend on top of spend. Not every prospect has anywhere near the established record of excellence of Tottenham’s Harry Kane. And clubs like Chelsea FC have shown why finding the right nine isn’t that easy.
Bayern’s wage bill will still be manageable
Choupo’s reported new salary will be in the double-digit millions of euros range, which for a veteran squad player isn’t a lot — depending on how far north of ten it falls. It’s hard to parse so early in negotiations, but the language around this number suggests something closer to ten than fifteen. Otherwise, it could be reported as “fifteen” rather than “double digits”. Recently negotiated contracts like that of Serge Gnabry, for example, should be well north of fifteen.
Closer to ten puts him marginally above the likes of Marcel Sabitzer and Ryan Gravenberch, and these are younger players with only squad player status. As Julian Nagelsmann showed against PSG, Choupo is a starter. Though he’ll be 34, his qualities as a striker and the team’s need in that area mean this might not change soon.
Choupo-Moting might not be enough
Because of his age and the likely short-term nature of the deal, Bayern aren’t likely done with their striker search. The position still projects to be an area of investment in future transfer windows. And maybe his effectiveness will decline, or the system change, to a point where other solutions will be needed — as surely as he himself turned out to be that solution this season.
Still: the alternative is that he walks for free. And Bayern, for now, have alternatives. Sadio Mané and Mathys Tel are potential answers to play centrally, and ones the club just last summer invested in for this purpose. And don’t forget that Thomas Müller still has a lot to give.
One year, or two, buys some time for the club to measure carefully before they strike again on the striker market — if, indeed, they should need to.
Interested in a more in-depth and critical look at the performance? Why not check out our postgame podcast? Listen to it below or on Spotify.
As always, we appreciate all the support!