If Fabrizio Romano and Florian Plettenberg are to be believed (and when it comes to these two, there is very little reason not to), Tottenham Hotspur and England centre-back Eric Dier is set to join Bayern Munich soon, with an agreement on personal terms already being reached and the only remaining hurdle being agreeing to a fee with Spurs themselves.
Our reaction? Well it’s mixed to be sure, but what is undeniable is that there are far better options than Dier on the market if Bayern were willing to loosen their pockets ever so slightly — and after the summer window that just took place, being unwilling to loosen your pockets would be a massive disappointment. Let’s explore some of those alternatives.
For this article, we will be looking at players that Bayern should look to bring in to strengthen the centre of defense, but can also cover in other positions if required for added depth.
Note: As is the nature of Mannschaft Planen, this article will not only ignore transfer rumours, but players linked with Bayern Munich will be actively avoided. The point is to present alternative options, so don’t expect to see Genoa’s Radu Drăgușin, Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah or FC Barcelona’s Ronald Araújo.
Lucas Martínez Quarta
We begin this trilogy of defensive options with our first ever reboot: ACF Fiorentina’s Lucas Martínez Quarta. Those who have followed Mannschaft Planen closely will know that Quarta was an option posited in an earlier edition, and is the first ever player to be repeated in the series’ two-year long history.
Quarta is one of the best defenders in Europe, period. Quarta’s ball-winning abilities and reading of the game is second to very few in all of the continent, with his interceptions and tackle numbers exceeding most centre-backs (85th percentile and 98th percentile respectively). Quarta’s qualities in defense are undeniable, but where he is even more valuable is in build-up. Quarta’s passing range is phenomenal, rivalling that of Bayern’s own Dayot Upamecano, and where he puts himself ahead of the pack is with his dribbling. Quarta’s ability to bring the ball out from the back by himself is elite, by far the best in Italy and one of the finest in the world. The only ‘weak’ point of his game is his aerial reach, as he is just a smidge under six foot, but still manages to win headers with his physicality and jumping. Quick, smart, skillful on the ball, unflinching in the face of danger, and willing to put himself in harm’s way to stop attackers, is there a more perfect package? Furthermore, his passing and dribbling skills — especially down the touchline — make him a perfect option to cover at right-back too if needed.
Quarta is 27 years of age, meaning he is only just entering his best years, making it the perfect time to pick him up. Transfermarkt values him at €14m, which would be daylight robbery. I’m sure Fiorentina would ask for somewhere in the region of €20m minimum, and even that in my opinion is a steal.
Player Quality: 10/10
Potential Price; 8/10
TOTAL: 25/30 (83%)
Staying in Italy, our sequel is fresher, faster, and more exciting. Anyone who’s played Football Manager in the last couple of years knows his name, it’s Atalanta Bergamo’s Giorgio Scalvini.
Scalvini is somehow up to the hype and far more. His tackling technique might be rough around the edges but it always gets the job done, with the Italian defender’s slides in particular being a stand-out ball-winning method. Furthermore, Scalvini’s ability to screen and wall off attackers through the middle is amazing too, and his sense of position and covering for his teammates is beyond his years, with his interception numbers putting him in the 99th percentile, as well as being in the 91st percentile for tackles and 76th percentile for blocks. Scalvini is gifted in the air, standing at a prodigious 6’4”, but this is without sacrificing lateral agility. Scalvini is invaluable in build-up too, as while he may not be as good at dribbling as Quarta, he is still extremely good at carrying the ball out from the back, as well as being far better at picking out passes from deep and having far better positional awareness than Quarta, often receiving the ball ahead of the first line of the press using his sense of timing and space which is beyond his years, a quality that would make him a great option in defensive midfield too. Beyond everything however, there is the intangible. Every few years, a centre-back comes along who from a very young age shows immense command over the pitch as a leader and as an individual, with what I can only describe as the aura of an all-time legend. It’s like reading the first chapter of an epic, where the protagonist is in their embryotic stage and is gaining strength with every turn of the page. It looks to me like football’s next myth has begun in Bergamo.
Scalvini is just 20, and is already a starter at Atalanta, which will inflate his price quite a bit. Transfermarkt values him at €40m, which is a hefty price tag, but for me it is a worthwhile one. I don’t see Bayern paying it with how tightly wound they’ve been about transfer fees as of late, but I would implore they do.
Player Quality: 9/10
Potential Price: 4/10
TOTAL: 23/30 (77%)
The end to our trilogy sees the protagonist as a grizzled veteran: one of the best right-backs of his generation, if a little under-recognised due to his tendency not to stay one place for very long and accumulate accolades in several places rather than building a singular extensive body of work in one place. If Bayern really are going to be tight about finances, there is no option better for Die Rekordmeister than Juventus’ Danilo.
There might be no player quite as well-rounded as Danilo mentally. The Brazilian is experienced yet hungry, seemingly still unsatisfied with his already extensive legacy and looking to win more and more as the vocal leader and captain of the Juventus team. Danilo is extremely smart and technically gifted, qualities that put him right at home in the squads of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, but he also possesses a key characteristic that the Bayern defense currently lacks: shithouse gene. Ever since the departure of Lucas Hernández this summer, the Bayern defense no longer contains any players with experience in the dark arts, which Danilo has in spades while not sacrificing technical brilliance. Danilo is a genius of positioning and tempo, dictating play from the left side of a back three in Turin and beating mid blocks with ease using his smarts. Furthermore, Danilo is the most versatile of all three players on this list, being capable of playing as a centre-back, left-back, right-back or defensive midfielder — all to an elite degree.
Danilo might be 32, but he easily has two or three — if not more — years of top play left in him, especially in a central role. Transfermarkt values Danilo at €12m, and this could be driven down by the fact that Danilo has eighteen months left on his contract.
Player Quality: 10/10
Potential Price: 9/10
TOTAL: 24/30 (80%)
What do you think of our picks? Is there anyone else you would’ve picked? Let us know in the discussion below.