Finding left-backs for the top level of European football is not easy, especially for a team like Bayern and in an era where full-backs have gained so much prominence and different roles in the tactical evolution of the game. Hailed as one of the best signings in recent years, Alphonso Davies, who arrived in Bavaria at the age of 19 from Canadian football, could leave at the end of his contract. And finding a replacement is not easy.
It will be difficult for Bayern to find a player of the Canadian’s talent, physical ability and age on the market, knowing that they also have Raphael Guerreiro and Frans Kratzig, a youth talent with first-team experience, in their squad. With the challenge of finding different profiles, we have selected five players + one extra who could perform with some immediacy at the demanding German club.
- As we can see in the radar in the graph above, Pervis Estupiñán, by age, physical conditions and football evolution, would be a very interesting profile for Bayern if they are looking for a similar profile, with experience and offensive capacity. He has neither the speed nor the defensive ability to make up metres at the back but he is a very good player, with a good pass and a great cross into the box. Bayern tend to play with wingers and the full-backs don’t get forward as much or don’t provide width on the wing, but that’s precisely why Estupiñán can add from different positions.
- The player with perhaps the most interesting attacking potential is Maxim de Cuyper, a very talented attacking player who has had some great seasons with Brugge at the age of 22. Although he suffers in some defensive aspects, a crucial aspect in a team like Bayern, which defends very high up and leaves a lot of space in their half, offensively he has many resources: creativity, accurate, association, good crosses and a lot of personality. It is a very specific profile but offensively very valuable.
- David Raum and Alejandro Grimaldo are two names that meet two important requirements: they have made a leap in their careers and have become internationals. However, they are very different profiles, which we have included because of the possibility of Bayern thinking about one type of full-back or the other. Raum is a player with a wide stride, a powerful cross into the box and a fantastic left foot to pass, combine and shoot, with great height and physique. Grimaldo is different. He shares the striking and creativity with the ball in his possession and this year he has gone a step further offensively, generating a lot of goals and assists. However, he has more inside footwork and finishes a lot more plays. Both could be an interesting option if Bayern decide to look for a replacement in the German market.
Two other options are in the Premier League. Although Destiny Udogie is playing a lot of minutes with Postecoglou, it is perhaps a medium-term gamble, as the player is still learning certain aspects of the position but has the physical and footballing characteristics to be an option to consider. He is among the top 10% of all full-backs in the big five leagues in terms of participation in moves that result in goal-scoring opportunities.
An extra player with enormous potential to play any role that a full-back can play today is Milos Kerkez. The Hungarian is adapting to two very different methods of play, that of Rossi’s Hungary, with very short passes and close relations, and that of Andoni Iraola’s Bournemouth. A player who already stood out with AZ Alkmaar and who is only 20 years old. Very complete and with an extraordinary projection.
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