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Opinion: Bayern Munich should just keep Benjamin Pavard for this season

The Frenchman is still a valuable piece to the puzzle.

FC Bayern München Team Presentation Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Bayern Munich appear to have a lot of business cooking in the late part of the summer transfer window. That means outgoings as well as incomings, and defender Benjamin Pavard’s status is one of the big questions remaining.

As Sky Sport journalist Florian Plettenberg reports, Pavard wants out and it is possible — but Premier League clubs like Manchester United might have pulled out and the only current suitor, Inter Milan, is nowhere near the Bavarians’ valuation:

#Pavard: After his talk with CEO Dreesen on Wednesday he’s no longer unsaleable. But he has a high price.

➡️ Bayern demands more than €40m + add-ons at this stage! @Inter has to increase their offer now.

If no suitable offer comes in, Bayern bosses are considering the possibility of losing him on a free transfer in 2024.

Now this could just be posturing in negotiation by the clubs, and they’ll have this done and dusted for €30 million and change by next week. But the last thought is an intriguing one: what if Bayern keep Pavard for the year and let him go where he wants on a free?

The Frenchman’s services are and will surely be in demand. Meanwhile, Bayern are just a little bit thin at center-back, while also being top-class in quality. Dayot Upamecano, Matthijs de Ligt, Kim Min-jae: these are three big-time heavy-hitters, all relatively young. But every game has two starting spots for center-backs at least, and the other candidate — Josip Stanišić — may be more of a fullback than a center-back, or suited to a back three.

Tactical versatility is something else Pavard brings to the table. It may not be every game, and it may not even be most, but Pavard allows Bayern to build from a stable chain of three even in the structure of a back four out of possession. Alphonso Davies or Raphaël Guerreiro’s bombing runs down the left flank would be well-compensated by Pavard’s defensiveness on the right, while Noussair Mazraoui offers more dynamism to the role.

Recall, this is what Lucas Hernández offered Bayern last year. Now that’s missing from the left; Pavard’s exit would be an additional limitation, especially if not compensated on the transfer market.

Bayern could assuredly make it all work, but Pavard adds quality, insurance, and options to the squad. What is that worth to the Bavarians? €30m? €40m? With a man like Harry Kane in two and a short window to make it all work, on the Champions League stage particularly, every decision has extra need to consider the short term as well as the long term.

If Pavard can agree to one last ride in Bavaria, Bayern might do well to make it happen.

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