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Mannschaft Planen: Tip of the spear

Turns out Bayern needs a top-level striker after all.

1. FSV Mainz 05 v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Bayern Munich may run with the attack they have for the rest of the season, but there is still a major problem. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is doing the job, and doing it very well, but Bayern need a long-term solution, and preferably one who can offer more than Choupo-Moting. The Cameroonian is selfless with his positioning, often dropping to let other players run off him. He also holds up the ball well.

But Choupo’s declining pace is troubling at times, and while he is very skillful on the ball, he is just not as crisp at passing in the final third as Julian Nagelsmann wants. And as FC Köln showed, he can be effectively taken out of a game through tight marking. Bayern require a top-level striker for many years to come, who can offer more off and on the ball even when pressured by defenders.

Note: As is Mannschaft Planen, this article will not contain players that Bayern Munich are already linked to. So do not expect Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Randal Kolo Muani, Kai Havertz or Marcus Thuram to show up here.

Breel Embolo


If Bayern want to sign bogey players like Ajax defenders and Yann Sommer, why not go all in? Breel Embolo was the primary suspect of the murder of Bayern Munich at the DFB-Pokal in October 2021.

Embolo has been simply fantastic for AS Monaco this season. Playing as one of a two striker system in Monaco’s 4-4-2 alongside Wissam Ben Yedder, Embolo has scored ten times as well as assisting twice. Embolo has been a master of playing around his teammates, having a healthy amount of shot-creating actions through his incisive passing. His dribbling has been impressive too, as Embolo has often dropped into the space between the lines and pulled ahead of a defender using his ability in one-versus-one situations. At 6’2”, he is no slouch in the air either, winning 1.4 aerials per game. It is his ability to orchestrate play in tight spaces inside the box without sacrificing pace or ability in the air that makes him a perfect candidate for Bayern’s problems, but it must also be mentioned that Embolo is a regular in Monaco’s press, turning over the ball with interceptions and blocks with regularity. Turning 26 in February, Embolo theoretically has his best years ahead of him, and those years would be well spent at one of Europe’s top clubs.

Financially this deal could be burdensome. Embolo would cost north of €30m as he has arrived at Monaco just last summer, and has a contract running until 2026. His wage package would need to be north of €6m/year if we are to want to keep him happy even when his value increases after good performances in a Bayern shirt.

Likelihood: 2/10
Player Quality: 8/10
Price: 6/10
TOTAL: 16/30 (53.33%)

Moussa Dembélé

Olympique Lyonnais v FC Nantes - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Moussa Dembélé who always seemed destined for greater things, but has never gotten that big chance. After multiple world class seasons at Olympique Lyon (and a short unsuccessful loan stint at Atlético Madrid), Dembélé is now out of favour in Lyon after the resurgence of former Arsenal FC man Alexandre Lacazette. This could be the time to move away from Lyon permanently, and there is no destination in Europe that could attract him more than Munich.

Dembélé is still a great player. While he is not the best at link-up in tight spaces, he is not selfish. He is good at handling the ball when pressured, and has a good eye for final balls, setting up teammates in dangerous positions often. His true strengths lie in the press, where he is good at regaining lost possession quickly by using his pace and physical presence, but most importantly in his more traditional striker qualities. He has a great eye for shots, sitting at 3.6 shots and 0.65npG from a npxG of 0.64 (all statistics given are per 90). While he is a couple inches shorter than Embolo at 6’, he is much more impressive in the air with his leaps and physicality, and is about as fast Embolo too. He is a year older than Embolo however, turning 27 this summer.

Dembélé’s contract with Lyon expires this summer, so Bayern would be able to snap him up for free. His contract would not need to be anything extravagant either, a package of around €6m/year should be enough.

Likelihood: 1/10
Player Quality: 8/10
Price: 10/10
TOTAL: 19/30 (63.33%)

Mohammed Kudus

Liverpool FC v AFC Ajax: Group A - UEFA Champions League Photo by Andre Weening/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Mohammed Kudus is a fantastic player, and one Bayern simply cannot miss out on.

While he has been relegated mostly to the bench at Ajax (Alfred Schreuder out!), he has been a massive positive when he has played. While he is not as physically imposing as Dembélé or Embolo, Kudus is faster and much more able on the ball. Kudus’ ability to get into dangerous positions and make himself available in these positions is elite, but he is also a master of playing around defenders with the ball at his feet. His dribbling is world class, but he is also amazing at finding other teammates running off of him. Kudus is amongst the best in the world both at fashioning chances for himself as well as for others, a true support striker. His only negative is that he is weak in the air, a dimension that Bayern would lack if they were to let go of Choupo-Moting, but teams like Chelsea in 2021 and Manchester City in 2022 have proven that you do not need a big striker to get the job done. Additionally, Bayern’s current group of wingers is subpar at delivering crosses, which may not suit having a target man.

Kudus is known for showing up at the big games, something that most of the Bayern attackers seem to lack as of late. Turning 23 this year, Kudus is far removed from his best years, so a move to Bayern would be ideal for him at this point. Kudus’ versatility and ability to play behind a striker as well as on the left allow Julian Nagelsmann to come up with different variations in the attack too, potentially to accommodate younger players such as Mathys Tel and Arijon Ibrahimović.

Kudus would be the most punishing financially of the three players, but in my opinion would be worth the price. An initial yearly package of €4m/year would probably be enough, although Kudus would quickly demand a salary hike. The transfer fee is reported at €25m by Sport BILD, which in my opinion is a steal, but the Bayern board may look to cut corners on the deal.

Likelihood: 3/10
Player Quality: 9/10
Price: 9/10
TOTAL: 21/30 (70%)

What do you think of my picks? Is there anyone I missed that you would have mentioned? Do you know how many tears I held back as I removed Armand Laurienté and Dango Ouattara from the shortlist? Let us know in the comments below!

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