Earlier this month, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge refused to commit himself to ensuring Franck Ribéry’s future remained at the Allianz Arena. With his time potentially coming to an end, we look at five players who could replace the inspirational 34-year-old.
Rummenigge’s comments did not come as a surprise to many who now feel the former France international’s time is up at Bayern. The club has had to strengthen with an influx of youth rather than remain with the older, more experienced players.
Speaking to Sky Germany, Rummenigge hinted that the end was nearing for Ribéry, “At the end of the day, football is a competitive sport, and at the end of the day we have to make the decision. The question is, is the future Franck Ribéry or do we need a new one?”
Following Douglas Costa’s departure in August, it has since left Bayern with just four recognised wide-forwards – Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben, Kingsley Coman, and to some degree, Thomas Müller. With Ribéry’s contract soon expiring, it now seems the ideal time for the club to invest in youth and lay the foundations for years to come in the broader areas of the pitch.
Last summer, the club made a very public pursuit of Alexis Sanchez to fill the void of a secondary striker and also a wide forward who could replace the likes of Ribéry and Robben in the short-term. However, the financial aspects of the deal made little sense to Bayern’s philosophy of buying assets capable of achieving a return on investment in years to come. Sanchez is almost 29-years-old and seemingly nearing the end of his best years.
Ideally, Bayern will intend to move for a young player who hasn’t quite reached the pinnacle of their career – much like Ribéry when he joined the club in 2007.
Ribéry will leave an enormous dent in Bayern’s squad for both personality and quality, so it may become an impossible job to replace the 34-year-old instantly.
Time will tell whether Bayern’s hierarchy can replace Ribéry’s legacy should he depart. In the event he does leave, it is time to look at the market and potential candidates for Bayern.
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Market value: €22 million
Brandt has become one of the hottest young properties in European football and it comes as no surprise to find himself continuously linked with a move to the Allianz Arena.
This season, Brandt has continued his stunning form with three goals and two assists in ten games. Overall, his defensive contribution and finishing would need to be improved upon. Under the right guidance, Brandt could set himself up to replace Ribéry’s enormous shoes.
Brandt’s expertise with both feet and ability to run at defenders with pace are some of his strengths that could be developed. The 21-year-old winger had caused quite a storm in the Bundesliga following his debut in 2014 and had been tipped as the long-term replacement for either Ribéry or Robben when they eventually retired from Bayern.
Club: Spartak Moscow
Market Value: €20million
Russian Premier League Player Of The Year last season, Quincy Promes continues to gather numerous plaudits for his performances both domestically and continentally.
The Dutch international has not made a move across Europe despite his performances with many unwilling to take an expensive risk on a player whose only played professional football in Holland and Russia.
Promes’ dribbling ability, goalscoring threat, creativity and crossing potential are all valuable assets Bayern could exploit.
Aged 25, Promes has regularly played in a central striker role which would provide Bayern’s coaching staff with another option in the forward position.
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Market Value: €60 million
Potentially the most expensive acquisition, the United States international also would prove the most challenging purchase due to Bayern’s rivalry with Borussia Dortmund.
Pulisic has not only the ability on the field Bayern’s hierarchy would be looking for, but the marketability of the player would be enormous due to his ties to the American sports market.
More importantly, on the pitch, Pulisic’s pace and finishing ability are his finest assets. That final ball he usually plays into the forward would need immense improvement should he be the one to replace Ribery.
However, his performances this season has been outstanding despite Dortmund’s shocking form, meaning he continues to stand out despite the results his team continues to conjure.
Club: Paris-Saint Germain
Market Value: €50 million
German international Draxler is struggling to force himself into the PSG side that is gathering many plaudits throughout the continent. A move may be on the cards to Bayern as he attempts to force himself into the German national team’s starting XI.
Draxler is well-known in Germany for his time at Schalke and Wolfsburg respectively, but his dazzling performances for Germany on the wing ensure his reputation is upheld.
Much like Ribéry, Draxler’s dribbling ability and goalscoring potential is some of the best in Europe. Nonetheless, whether or not he can adapt to the enormity of a club like Bayern Munich remains to be seen as his time in Paris continues to be overshadowed by his negligence.
Club: AS Monaco
Market Value: €70 million
France international Thomas Lemar has gathered a superb reputation across Europe after last seasons exploits in the Champions League.
The Monaco wideman almost joined Arsenal in August but opted to remain in France in the hope of achieving a more significant move after the World Cup. Bayern would undoubtedly tick that category for the youngster who has drawn comparisons to Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta in the past.
Lemar’s dribbling ability, pace, and sheer power remain a crucial component to his success. Monaco would be unlikely to stand in his way should Bayern come calling for his signature.