Throughout Hinrunde, Bayern Munich coach Thomas Tuchel has lamented a perceived lack of depth in the squad. He also has not hidden his desire for a more defensive-minded number six.
Bayern will be without the services of Kim Min-jae and Noussair Mazraoui for several weeks in the initial phase of Ruckrunde. Kim Min-jae will be representing South Korea at the AFC in Qatar between January 12 and February 10. Mazraoui will be with the national team of Morocco to compete in the AFCON tournament which is set to take place between January 13 and February 11 in Ivory Coast.
On the surface the absence of the two aforementioned players highlights the need for defensive cover at center-back and right-back. However, securing the right player(s) in the winter transfer window has always been more challenging than in the summer for both footballing and economic reasons.
Taking 2024 as the pivotal year for Thomas Tuchel why not try to get the best transfer business done in both the January and summer transfer windows?
One player who can perform efficiently as both a right-back and center-back would seem like the obvious acquisition to provide the necessary cover until the return of Kim Min-jae and Mazraoui. However, if we delve deeper, we can see that Bayern currently lacks a left-footed center-back. So why not pursue that option in January?
One can argue, that there would still be the need for a right-back, if only a left-footed center-back was brought in. However, the counter to that argument would be to rely on Laimer and Kimmich until the return of Mazraoui.
That scenario may then justify a new number six being acquired in January, but what impact would that have on the mindsets of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka over the course of Ruckrunde? Hasn’t the combination of Raphael Guerreiro and Aleksandar Pavlovic at the base of midfield been more than just serviceable when called upon this season?
Looking at both the winter and summer transfer windows together, Josip Stanisic’s return in July could solve the depth issue at right-back and center-back, so why not wait until the summer to make the bold decisions for a new number six or sell Matthijs de Ligt?
If reports of Thomas Tuchel’s faith in Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo as the panacea for Bayern’s defensive woes, are to be believed, then it would surely make more sense to go all in for the Uruguayan defender during the summer.
Regardless of how the winter transfer window unfolds, the veteran German coach remains under pressure to retain the Bundesliga title and bring the Champions League trophy back to Munich.
Remember the old saying… ‘Be careful what you wish for”. Failure on the part of Tuchel to land either trophy, after getting his desired transfer targets, may very well end up with him being replaced over the summer by none other than Xabi Alonso.