German outlets kicker and Bild have competing reports in recent days surrounding the future of Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard. Oh, and the Frenchman himself chimed in on the topic. Let’s review.
We’ll start with Pavard’s own statements. Asked on Telefoot, Pavard laughed and gave a noncommittal response (as captured by @iMiaSanMia): “I was expecting this question. There are currently no talks with the club, we’re focused on our season goals. I’m just trying to play my best football and win trophies. We’ll see this summer.”
That, of course, has left the door open to rampant speculation, much of it surrounding Bayern’s change of manager. Of the now-ousted Julian Nagelsmann, Pavard had said in the same interview: “We learned about [the sacking] like you. We saw the articles, then it was official. I would like to thank coach Nagelsmann and his staff. He did a really good job. He promised me to play CB in back 3, where I always wanted to play. I wish him the best.”
Nagelsmann, of course, only sometimes played in a back three, but it’s still notable that Pavard chose to reiterate his wishes explicitly. Thomas Tuchel had also fielded back threes regularly in his Chelsea FC stint, but so far at Bayern, it’s been two games with Pavard at right-back in a more traditionally Bavarian 4-2-3-1 look. The kind that reportedly had Pavard less than thrilled.
That might be where Bild’s report comes in. Via @iMiaSanMia, Christian Falk and Tobi Altschäffl’s report states that the club is “growing increasingly doubtful” about their prospects of extending the Frenchman, whose contract runs through 2024. They add that Tuchel values him, much as Nagelsmann and Hansi Flick did previously, but interest from FC Barcelona could be weighing on his decision.
At the same time, however, Pavard himself seems undecided at present. From a report several days ago in kicker (Georg Holzner and Frank Linkesch), also via @iMiaSanMia, the defender “can imagine” continuing on at Bayern with talks schedule to “resume soon” and his clarifying role under Tuchel to be a large factor.
Does this all add up? Probably. Pavard is a talent in the prime of his career and will have options — yes, even, somehow, Barça. With his preference to play center-back, or at least to play, and his future role in Bavaria an open question, it should be no surprise that the player will evaluate where he stands in the new regime. And as long as Bayern may favor a back four, the club should regard his next commitment far from a lock — especially with the other center-backs available at their disposal.
If Pavard does leave, he may be the first transfer domino to fall in the wake of Julian Nagelsmann’s departure. And his own departure may pave the way for the club to accelerate the next re-shaping of their roster under Thomas Tuchel.