Well, lads. They’ve really screwed the pooch on this one. Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich is a bust. But it’s not a complete disaster, this team is just a couple of changes away from being a machine. It all starts with some crucial changes in personnel.
As must be clear by now, this is not a standard issue of Mannschaft Planen where I laser in on one problem with the squad and try to give multiple options to fix it. This will be a two-part series in which I lay out a set of solutions to all of the squad’s problems that are congruent with each other and showcase a system the selected and available personnel would excel in.
The Bayern Munich supervisory board meeting to set the transfer expenditure is imminent, and with the kind of players they are looking to add to the team, I think it’s fair to assume the board will be giving the squad planning team a decent chunk of change to work with: somewhere in the region of €150m. I think this combined with some key departures could allow for some crucial reinforcements. So, where do we begin?
The goalkeeper situation is the trickiest by far. It seems Manuel Neuer will be undeterred from his starting position, and neither Yann Sommer nor Alexander Nübel seem like they want to stay with Neuer soaking up game time. Bayern will unfortunately have to return to Sven Ulreich deputising for Neuer. The pair of departing goalkeepers could fetch us €30m put together, a bit over €20m for Nübel and just under €10m for Sommer.
In defense, I would look to loan out Bright Arrey-Mbi and keep all our centre backs. I would love to keep Daley Blind as his profile is perfect for the system I have in mind but there are too many top quality centre back options at the club to retain yet another one, even if it means we have only one left-footed centre back. Noussair Mazraoui is perfect for the right side of defense and has backup but the left side lacks a backup for Alphonso Davies. Bouna Sarr can be sold for pennies at this point.
The midfield is full of personnel but empty at the same time. None of Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Ryan Gravenberch or Konrad Laimer can be let go, whether it’s for sporting or market-related reasons. However, Marcel Sabitzer is very much in the market, and has attracted the interest of multiple Premier League outfits. Bayern could snag €25m for him, which is the reported asking price (although I think with some effort the price could be raised to €30m).
The attack faces a similar problem in that it is stacked but there are some key things missing. Sadio Mané reportedly has some interest from Newcastle United, I would ask for €50m but would settle for something in the region of €35-40m.
All these departures add up to an income of €90m, and while in a perfect world all of that cash would be re-invested into the squad, we all know that’s not how football works. Let’s give ourselves a budget of €190m, setting €50m aside for the club.
Right, so there are three players I would like to see Bayern acquire and two important contract extensions, those being of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernández. Malik Tillman’s contract should be extended too, but Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer and Sven Ulreich’s contracts should all be looked at towards the midpoint of the season. Let Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s contract expire, he is surplus to requirements as he is neither a good young option to give experience too nor a top level striker. He is a good wildcard however.
The striker position faces many problems. Dušan Vlahović has a great profile but he is simply not good enough on the ball to play for Bayern, far too limited and not good enough at finishing chances to make up for it, especially for the reported €70m fee. Harry Kane would be the perfect fit but it seems he wants to stay in England. All other options seem completely unrealistic due to a long contract or a lack of interest in the Bayern project. As much as I wished for better circumstances, our best option is Randal Kolo Muani. Kolo Muani would set us back €90m but it would be €90m well spent, he is the perfect Tuchel striker. Think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2016 under Tuchel (this is rather heavy-handed foreshadowing for the kind of system I’m thinking of). That leaves us with €100m for the last two positions.
João Cancelo has impressed everyone and Bayern simply must purchase him permanently. While I think €70m is too much, he is unwanted and unwilling to return to Manchester City, so with the personal circumstances in mind he could be purchased for something closer to €50m. That gives us €50m to spend on our final position: defensive midfield.
Bayern Munich need to spend top dollar on a top defensive midfielder. I think €50m may just be enough. I was not the biggest fan of Manuel Ugarte for the longest time, feeling that Twitter users were far overrating him purely based on statistics. After watching Sporting play and some more advanced statistical analysis, I have to say I was wrong. Ugarte is fully worth a shot, I think we could easily get him for under or around €40m.
There is an alternative option to the defensive midfield problem that I feel could be a possibility but it is far too risky and could cost a lot in the long run. The idea is to set the money aside for next year; combined with next year’s budget Bayern could realistically afford somebody like Declan Rice, and combined with a loan move this year the position could be covered. I think Manchester City would be willing to let Máximo Perrone go on a one year loan to us and I think he would be of the perfect quality and profile to play the position I need. However for the purposes of showcasing the system I will be going with Ugarte.
What do you think of the acquisitions? Are you infuriated with me yet? Have you already figured out what horrible system I’m crafting? Let us know in the discussion below.