Monday, July 4, 2022

Bayern Munich transfer priorities: Sadio Mane arrival means Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry could go

Bayern Munich acould be one of the busier teams this summer with prolific marksman Robert Lewandowski expected to move on after eight years at Allianz Arena and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane already lined up to arrive and boost the Bundesliga champions’ attack. However, changes elsewhere could be the key to rejuvenating Julian Nagelsmann’s side after a disappointing 2021-22 season which saw UEFA Champions League and DFB Pokal failure, starting with Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui joining from AFC Ajax. 

We break down Bayern’s senior men’s roster and take a look at what else might happen this summer in Bavaria.

Bayern goalkeeper outlook

Staying: Manuel Neuer, Sven Ulreich

Leaving: Christian Fruchtl, Ron-Thorben Hoffmann

Loan Option: Alexander Nubel (already on loan at AS Monaco)

Succession planning for Manuel Neuer will soon become a more pressing need but that is likely something which can be left until at least next summer with fellow goalkeeper Alexander Nubel on loan with Monaco for another season and the best-placed to succeed the captain at present. With Neuer extending his Bayern contract recently along with Thomas Muller, the Bavarians will retain their strong German influence despite the loss of Niklas Sule to rivals Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer.

Ideal moves: Potentially a promising youngster to fill the role of third goalkeeper at least until Nubel returns from France.

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Bayern defensive outlook

Staying: Dayot Upamecano, Alphonso Davies, Lucas Hernandez, Benjamin Pavard, Noussair Mazraoui 

Possibly Leaving: Bouna Sarr

Loan Option: Chris Richards, Tanguy Kouassi, Josip Stanisic, Omar Richards

Bayern’s French-influenced defense arguably needs some work with Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez, Bouna Sarr and Tanguy Kouassi not exactly a picture of frugality. That could change with the shrewd addition of Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax and the potential redistribution of roles which should come with his insertion into the starting XI, but central defense could equally be a position the club looks at once the Sadio Mane deal has been secured. USMNT star Chris Richards has returned to Bayern after consecutive loans to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and could either make that move permanent or leave with no shortage of suitors including a number of Spanish clubs, Southampton and Crystal Palace. Bayern could move on the unconvincing Sarr to ensure that the development of Kouassi and Stanisic do not get held back if they are not loaned out.

Ideal moves: Assuming Nagelsmann perseveres with his French defensive contingent, it is more a question of fine-tuning the defense rather than adding to it. Kouassi and Stanisic are particularly promising prospects who are ready for regular senior involvement to develop further.

Bayern midfield outlook

Staying: Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Jamal Musiala, Ryan Gravenberch

Possibly Leaving: Corentin Tolisso, Marc Roca, Marcel Sabitzer

Loan Option: Paul Wanner, Malik Tillman

Injury-hit French midfielder Corentin Tolisso has already departed on a free and could return to Olympique Lyonnais while Spaniard Marc Roca in the process of finalizing his switch to Jesse Marsch’s Premier League outfit Leeds United. A double raid on AFC Ajax has already been pulled off with talented young Netherlands international Ryan Gravenberch arriving for nearly $20 million. Decisions will have to be made over some peripheral figures such as Marcel Sabitzer, but Nagelsmann’s knowledge that Paul Wanner and Malik Tillman are pushing for involvement could quell any immediate need for further reinforcement. Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich and Jamal Musiala is a strong starting midfield with Alphonso Davies getting forward regularly on the left and that is without adding Gravenberch to the mix.

Ideal moves: Assuming Sabitzer goes, a versatile replacement would be useful depending on how Wanner and Tillman are viewed as both will need developmental game time.

Bayern attack outlook

Staying: Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller, Kingsley Coman

Possibly Leaving: Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry

Loan Option: Gabriel Vidovic, Armindo Sieb & Lucas Copado

Serge Gnabry’s future is uncertain, but Muller, Kingsley Coman and Leroy Sane still represent a solid attacking unit. Should Mane arrive, it will be a new-look front line under Nagelsmann next season and one which has undergone some much-needed work, but it is only part of what now appears set to be a gradual rejuvenation with Muller sticking around for a while longer. It was obvious at times last campaign that some aspects of this side are past their peak with an increasing over-reliance on Lewandowski’s goals contributing towards Champions League and Pokal failure. In Mane, Bayern have identified an equally consistent performer who has shown himself to be one of Liverpool’s star men and although he does not score goals at the same rate as the Polish superstar, he should have no problem in the Bundesliga. With Mane included, Bayern will be seeking to reassert their domestic dominance with Bundesliga and Pokal success as well as avoiding a repeat of last term’s unexpected Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal CF.

Ideal moves: If Gnabry is not going to extend, Bayern will need to move him on this summer. With Lewandowski already set on a move away and Eric Maxim Choupo Moting a limited backup figure, moving all three on and bringing in another striker of prolific quality would be smart.

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