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Is Bayern Munich unhappy with blockbuster transfer star Sadio Mané?

The former Liverpool star has not lived up to the billing at Bayern Munich as of yet.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

When Bayern Munich procured former Liverpool FC star Sadio Mané during the summer transfer window, it created a frenzy within the club’s fanbase.

Since that point, however, things have not been consistently good for the Senegal international.

Undoubtedly, an injury just prior to the World Cup break hampered Mané’s progress, but according to a report from Sport1 journalist Kerry Hau, there is much more to it than a slow recovery and a penchant for going offside.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Sadio Mané has some Bayern Munich staffers thinking he should be doing a lot more.
Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Per Hau, Bayern Munich’s coaching staff and club executives have much higher expectations for Mané, but he is considered to be “losing too many one-on-on duels”, which has been an consistent issue during training sessions.

In addition, Hau’s report states that Mané struggles to provide value to the team when the squad is in possession of the ball. Moreover, the report also indicates that Mané might be lacking the “speed and explosiveness” that he became known for while at Liverpool.

The piece went on the speculate that the wear-and-tear that Mané accumulated under Jürgen Klopp’s high intensity style could be taking its toll, as the 30-year-old played an average of 50 games per season between 2018 and 2022.

Bayern Munich sounds concerned that Mané has not adapted his style to combat any regressions in speed or explosiveness, per Hau, citing his inefficiency with his chances and his lack of focus when making runs, which has led him to develop an issue with going offside.

Potentially worse than any of that is that Hau speculates that Mané could be struggling with his positional responsibilities at Bayern Munich:

His tactical role in the Bavarians is completely different than in Liverpool. While Klopp mostly played him as a clear left winger, with a supporting full-back (Andrew Robertson), he has often acted as a kind of second striker in the half-spaces under Nagelsmann, because the left flank belongs to “Roadrunner” Alphonso Davies in the back three system.

Mané looks visibly uncomfortable, like a foreign body, as he has far less space in possession of the ball. He is also lost in the center-forward position, and also often runs offside (18 times in 18 Bundesliga games).


BFW Analysis

While it is too early kick dirt on the grave of Mané’s Bayern Munich career, it is fair to think Hau — a very good reporter — is not just offering his own thoughts on the issue, but likely echoing things he might be hearing from his sources within the club.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Sadio Mané might be struggling with his role at Bayern Munich, but it is too early to write him off.
Photo by Joachim Bywaletz/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

When you look at how and when Mané was acquired, you can ascertain that Bayern Munich knew it needed to make an offensive splash to replace some of what it was about to lose with Robert Lewandowski, on the verge of a transfer to FC Barcelona.

While not a panic buy, Bayern Munich was in desperation mode. It all happened extremely quick — perhaps even rushed. How Mané would fit at Bayern Munich was a bit lost in the shuffle, as everyone clamored to just see his talent on the pitch. Would he be a left-wing? A striker? How would his presence affect players like Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala, and Thomas Müller? Would he be able to adapt from Klopp’s “heavy metal football” to a more controlled style of play?

Surely, those discussions were had, but it was still a calculated gamble to get Mané, who was not a like-for-like replacement for Lewandowski. Despite his awesome talent, there was never a guarantee Mané would be a perfect fit in Munich.

As damning some of this might sound, however, it is far too early to start writing off the Senegalese star. He is still likely not operating at 100% and probably still not fully comfortable in the role that he has been given.

It can get better and he should be given a chance to show that.

How much time that might take, though, will test Bayern Munich’s patience, as the club sounds like it thought it was getting a “sure thing” rather than an “experiment” when it brought in Mané last summer.

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