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With rumors of João Palhinha’s arrival, Javi Martínez weighs in on Bayern Munich’s midfield talent

The former Bayern great understands why the Bavarians are considering adding some steel to their midfield.

FC Bayern Muenchen v FC Augsburg - Bundesliga Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

It is not just Thomas Tuchel.

Former Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martínez weighed in on the Rekordmeister’s late transfer window scramble for a defensive midfielder — which seems to alternately cool down or heat up by the day — and the importance of a holding midfielder to stabilize the Bavarians’ ultra-attacking tendencies.

“Bayern always have the ball and attack with many players at the same time,” Martínez explained in comments captured by Bild journalist Nico Linner (via @iMiaSanMia). “The problem is that this creates a lot of space for dangerous counterattacks by the opponent. That’s why I believe that Bayern urgently needs a player who always keeps an eye on these possible dangers. Someone who does not always help offensively, but also thinks about what to do if the ball is lost. Pep Guardiola called this style of play ‘defending with the ball’ — in other words, looking out for possible gaps and counterattack chances even when you’re in possession of the ball.”

The situation is nearing a resolution to those with this viewpoint as João Palhinha is on his way to ink a deal with Bayern Munich from Fulham FC, but Martinez had some interesting insights into the composition of the midfield.

Martínez himself used to bring some of this to the spine of Bayern’s midfield. And it is a profile that he thinks the team could really benefit from, despite the presence of a world-class No. 6 in Joshua Kimmich.

“He’s a fantastic No. 6, but he stands out offensively,” Martínez remarked of Kimmich. “That’s why Tuchel wants him to focus more on creating than destroying. It was similar to when I was with [Bastian] Schweinsteiger. With Luiz Gustavo and me behind him, Basti was able to concentrate on the offensive side. Apparently, Tuchel also wants a player who thinks more defensively than offensively, because there isn’t one in the current squad. [Leon] Goretzka and [Ryan] Gravenberch are very attacking midfielders.”

A Kimmich-to-Schweinsteiger comparison! You do not see that every day. As for who should get the call? If only there were a time machine...

“If I were still 22 years old, I think Bayern could use me well,” Martínez concluded with a laugh.

For whatever it is worth, the club does appear to be heeding the words of people like Martinez. Tuchel addressed the Palhinha rumors at his press conference in way to tell people what is going on...without actually telling them what is exactly going on.

“I can’t say anything yet. If I said something and then he doesn’t join us, I’d have spoken about a player not under contract with us. It’s still a few hours away. We’re trying to complement and strengthen our team. It’s exciting and will remain exciting,” Tuchel said (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).

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