Don’t look for it. There is no other top European club, among the Champions League contenders, that has, for such a long time and with such determination, invested in wide wingers who consistently reach the byline like Bayern Munich. It’s an identity that has persisted since the days of Ribery and Robben, and for the moment, it will continue to be so.
Talking about Bayern is interesting at the moment because their approach to talent scouting evolves at different speeds, both stylistically and economically. In recent years, they have signed established players like Matthijs de Ligt, Dayot Upamecano, or Harry Kane, making high-profile transfers for a significant sum of money. However, they have also deviated from what is expected of a top club by signing players such as Alphonso Davies from the Canadian league, Bryan Zaragoza, a 1.70m player from Granada, or Nestory Irankunda, a 17-year-old player born in Tanzania from Australian football. These players, at first glance, may not possess certain characteristics to make an immediate leap to the German giant.
This can indicate several things in terms of scouting. On one hand, it highlights the importance Bayern places on players who have a special talent, physicality, and skill to do the most challenging thing in football, which is dribbling and inventiveness while receiving the ball at their feet with a defender in front. It doesn’t matter if they lack other attributes by default (movement in the box, precision when playing inside, or a great cross into the area). They are not complete players, not even by potential, but they have something that sets them apart – a mentality to attempt dribbles and persist in unbalancing that distinguishes them above all else.
We have had Nestory on our radar for some time, and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with him and Adelaide United for his move to Munich next summer. We want to thank the officials at United for the good discussions held throughout. Nestory is an extremely fast winger, skilled in dribbling and finishing, with a strong goal-scoring ability. We are convinced of his potential and believe he will take the next steps with us.
Thanks to our data coverage, we can delve into players like Bryan Zaragoza and Nestory Irankunda. We don’t know if the latter will be part of the Bayern squad in the short or medium term, but visualizing the player both in video and data, the feeling is that the club’s gaze identifies very well what it wants from these types of players.
If one observes these two players closely, you can notice a very high speed of execution in sudden actions, with immense instinct and ability to unbalance. They may not end up being starters for years at Bayern, but it’s interesting to observe how scouting works for such important clubs.
In this chart, combining La Liga and the Australian A-League, by cross-referencing completed dribbles and dribble success percentage, we can understand the nature of Irankunda and Zaragoza through their dribbling ability, while the previous maps visualize their capacity to successfully carry the ball, penetrate the defense, and consistently enter the area. Does that sound familiar? Robben, Ribery, Coman, Sané, Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Xherdan Shaqiri, etc.
Founded in 2017 as a consultancy, Driblab has driven innovation through data in all aspects of professional football. Thanks to a transversal model, its database collects and models statistics in all directions. From converting matches and videos into bespoke data for training academies to developing cutting-edge technology, helping clubs, federations and representative agencies in talent scouting and transfer markets. Driblab’s smart data is used by clubs all over the world, with success stories such as Dinamo Zagreb, Real Betis and Girondins Bordeaux among others. Here you can find out more about how we work and what we offer.