João Cancelo could be facing a tough fight to get back into the Bayern Munich starting XI, per Bild’s Christian Falk. As revealed in a Caught Offside exclusive, club manager Julian Nagelsmann informed Falk that while Cancelo is “doing well”, the Portuguese fullback doesn't fit into the current system.
That system, as relayed by Falk, “involves three defenders behind two wing-backs” — and lately that’s been Kingsley Coman on the right side, with Alphonso Davies on the left. Noussair Mazraoui remains a candidate for the right side as well, meaning that a system change back to a back four — or an injury to one of Bayern’s center-backs — would be Cancelo’s clearest path to playing time.
If true, that could mean a frustrating loan spell is in store. According to Falk, however, Bayern at least remain interested in retaining a quality player — at a lower price than the €70m purchase clause that’s included in his loan deal.
It’s not clear that Manchester City would like Cancelo to return, and there was a reason the Premier League title contenders let him walk in the January transfer window. Other rumored interest, such as from Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in La Liga, is no sure thing either. That leaves one of the world’s most talented fullbacks in a curiously delicate position, with no clear path forward.
Cancelo has played well when called upon, including in the wing-back role. But he’s not a candidate for Benjamin Pavard’s wide center-back role. If Nagelsmann is serious about his back three revolution, then Cancelo may need to try to force his way back into Pep Guardiola’s plans this summer.