Bayern Munich need a striker, and Eintracht Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani is lighting up the Bundesliga. But is this a match made in heaven? Or simply the most enticing of the in-league options at the time?
As of Matchday 33, Kolo Muani leads the league with 25 G+A (14 goals, 11 assists). He’s one of only two players in double digits in each category. The other is none other than Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala (11G, 10A) — though others, like Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Brandt (9G, 8A) are lurking.
Bayern have had some trouble finding goals since Robert Lewandowski left, but not that much trouble. They’ve still got 90 on the year, and it’s only a little off the pace of previous seasons, last game pending. What they have lacked, however, is a focal point in the attack outside Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. The Cameroonian has been a revelation, but has also dealt with injuries and not quite reached the heights of the Polish legend that came before him.
Of course, few can. And there’s the rub. Kolo Muani, buoyed by a strong season that included a stirring display in the FIFA World Cup for France, is poised to be a transfer window prize. Frankfurt are under no obligation to sell him right away; the Frenchman is under contract through 2027. But despite that, he’s not quite a goals machine.
Kolo Muani is pacy and skilled, yes, but lags behind Werder Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug in G/90 (0.50 to 0.60). The league’s runaway leader in that category? Choupo-Moting himself (0.82).
Pace, skill, creativity: Bayern has these profiles in abundance. In addition to Musiala, they’ve got Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, even Sadio Mané, though the former Liverpool man may not stay. And Mathys Tel is waiting in the wings, another option on the wing who has a mean shot.
But as the Bavarians found out against Leipzig, having a winger cut inside and score isn’t the panacea for all their ills. They also need a target for the crosses, a fox-in-the-box poacher who can make life easier against a low block and consistently pull goals out of nowhere when they’re most needed.
Maybe Kolo Muani is the dream for Thomas Tuchel’s imagined system at Bayern next year — the next Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, say. But if a fleet-footed winger/forward is the billing, don’t Gnabry and Tel offer a present-and-future double punch already?
Perhaps Bayern shouldn’t give up on their internal options so soon. And if they do add an attacker, maybe they should look for someone who, even if they aren’t every-game starter quality, adds the pure finishing profile — like Choupo-Moting. Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen look out of reach, but Juventus man Dušan Vlahović surely isn’t. Is Saša Kalajdžić still available?
Such an option might both diversify Bayern’s attacking profile and reserve a lot of funds for making João Cancelo’s loan from Manchester City permanent, or a midfield makeover that looks increasingly needed. Or even the next coach’s demands — after the current or next board get impatient with Tuchel.
In these times, you never know.