The injury gods have shown Bayern Munich no mercy — especially at the wing position (let’s just ignore that right-back is a far worse example of their wrath for the moment).
With just a few days left in the transfer window, Bayern Munich was dealt another swift kick to the groin, as Kingsley Coman tore his MCL and could be out for as long as two months. The Frenchman joins Serge Gnabry on the injured list, with the Germany international eyeing a return about five-to-six weeks from now.
The injured duo leaves Leroy Sané as the last true winger on the roster…so now what?
A return for Douglas Costa?
Many will clamor to give Mathys Tel an extended look, but throwing the youngster into this type of situation could do more harm than good for his confidence. As a super-sub, there is less weight on his shoulders.
Others will cite the presence of veteran left-back Raphael Guerreiro — and the pending arrival of right-back Sacha Boey — as an opportunity to play Alphonso Davies at wing. That would seem like a long shot, though, as Davies has scuffled at times this season and likely needs to stay focused on one position for the time being.
What about Thomas Müller you ask? Sure, that could work. Müller has shown that he can do it already this season, but does Thomas Tuchel want to play the veteran as a regular starter? That is unclear.
Why settle for any of those options, though, when you have a Lamborghini currently driving on a go-kart track.
Jamal Musiala is the only correct answer to the question for who should take over as a starting wing. While he has been okay as an attacking midfielder, his impact to games is far greater as a winger. Moreover, Musiala might actually be the team’s best, most creative winger — he just does not play there (for one reason or another).
Well…that it’s then — Musiala it is!
Not so fast my friend.
For one reason or another, Tuchel has been reluctant to ask his prized pupil to play out-wide, even when the situation calls for it. Only a few occasions, has the coach move Musiala to wing.
But why? It makes too much sense for it to happen so what gives?
No one knows for sure, but there is a theory that has been floating around here for months (going back to last winter when Musiala slid into a deep funk playing as an attacking midfielder after the World Cup).
What’s the theory?
Simply put (and, again, it is just a tin foil hat theory): Musiala does not want to play wing and Bayern Munich is scared to make him do it.
Could that possibly be true? Maybe...maybe not, but what we do know is that Musiala’s future with the club is somewhat tenuous at the moment. The 20-year-old’s name has already been floating around in the transfer rumor mill — far ahead of 2025, the summer before his contract ends in 2026. Seeing those rumors and also knowing that Musiala prefers to see himself as a No. 10, the youngster might not be so willing to slide outside, even if it might be his best position. Bayern Munich might be doing everything possible to appease the youngster in hopes of securing him to another contract extension.
Yes...it is just a theory, but why have Bayern Munich’s two most recent coaches — Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann — been so reluctant to use him at the position?
It does make you wonder.
In recent weeks on the pitch, the youthful exuberance of the Germany international has started to dissipate. All of a sudden, he is acting much more like a veteran than ever before. Arguing with referees, visible demonstrations of frustration...being a teammate of Robert Lewandowski and Sané certainly rubbed off on him!
Such is life, though, and that kid — who was such a joy to watch when he looked like a campus player who snuck into a match with the big boys — has grown up. Now it is time to make a big boy decision to do something that is best for the team, even if Musiala, himself, might not think it is best for him or even a move that really wants to make.
Bayern Munich needs him on the wing and it cannot be afraid to tell him that he has to do it.
Hopefully, the theory is proven wrong. However, if Musiala does not shift out-wide now, when the club absolutely needs him to, it could be a sign that maybe that crackpot theory is not so far off base.
Looking for more thoughts on Bayern Munich’s squad, its recent performances, and the most pertinent transfer rumors? Check out our Bavarian Podcast Works — Weekend Warm-up Show on Spotify or below: