Opinion: Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala should play on the flanks moving forward

Jamal Musiala of Bayern Munich is one of the most talented young people in the world. And it would not be an exaggeration to say that he is also one of Bayern’s top strikers on any given day. Yes, he is still very young and may need to develop his physique a bit, but he is already starting often in the first team and could very well replace a senior player from Champagne XI. In fact, some even believe Bayern’s XI champagne at the moment contains Musiala, and it’s pretty hard to object to that.

With many touting the phenomenon to be Thomas Müller’s eventual replacement, fans were expecting the player to start off offensive midfield spot more often either as a substitute or occasionally ahead of Müller. That didn’t happen, however, and we ended up seeing Musiala in a number of positions: at number 8, on the flanks, and sometimes as a replacement for the late attacking midfield. I think we have to stop shuffling him around the attack and midfield because we already have a position where he can get good minutes: the wings.

Bayern have a deep forward contingent, but certainly not as deep as the depth available in other positions.
Photo by M. Donato / FC Bayern via Getty Images

And then you’ll ask, “But, but … there are three wings (four, if you include Sadio Mané) potentially in front of” Moose “in the pecking order, so how would that be feasible?” Well, for starters, Serge Gnabry is more or less outgoing. This leaves us with three wings, one of which is injury-prone (Kingsley Coman), one that doesn’t seem in great shape at the moment (Leroy Sané), and another that could even start for us as # 9, depending on whether Robert Lewandowski stays or leaves.

Even in the scenario where Gnabry AND Lewa remain, Musiala would still be above Gnabry in the pecking order for me. He is also destined to gain a lot of minutes as he can play equally well on both wings (not a winger merchant like Sané) and is a terrifying winger replacement, who can change his game on his own. Dribbling and close control of him reminds me of Franck Ribéry, while his vision reminds me of Müller’s. Musiala could swap places with other Bayern forwards in what could be a super-fluid attacking configuration. And the youngster may very well be the “revolutionary” winger we’ve been looking for ever since Robbery hung up his boots.

Don’t get me wrong, Coman and Sané are world-class and Mané is currently one of the top 5 forwards in the world, but I strongly believe that Musiala’s roof may be something else. And I’d like to see that happen as a winger, a position that is very prone to injuries and inconsistencies.

Germany v Italy: UEFA Nations League - League Path Group 3

Whether it’s Bayern or Germany … Mueller always starts.
Photo by Marvin Ibo Guengoer / GES Sportfoto via Getty Images

So why NOT the role of attacking midfielder? Well, because, to begin with, Thomas Müller always starts. This is an unwritten rule for both Bayern and Germany, but it is still a rule that works wonders. Yes, the man sometimes needs a break, but will those minutes be enough for a player who is in an important phase of his growth? Also, I feel Bayern have a plethora of young people on campus who can take the baton from Raumdeuter: Paul Wanner, Arijon Ibrahimovic, and dare I say, Lovro Zvonarek. Of the trio, Wanner seems the closest candidate to a “post-Müller succession plan” and is a player with extraordinary vision and passing skills.

The Bayern team can certainly be helped by putting together the best individual pieces to create a functional whole, if possible. Since Wanner is not great as a winger but he is great as AM, playing Musiala on the wing and Wanner on number 10 will solve both problems and give us the best in both positions. The whole would surely be better than the sum of his parts, in that case.

Germany U17 v Czech Republic U17 - Qualification for the UEFA European Under-17 Championship

Paul Wanner was a force to be reckoned with in qualifying for the U17 European Championships.
Photo by Ian MacNicol / Getty Images

And finally “why not the midfield?” is yet another potential question, but this one is easier to address. We already have four great midfielders: Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Ryan Gravenberch and Marcel Sabitzer. Bayern are currently looking to sign Konrad Laimer as well. And unlike the wing positions, time is scarce in midfield, with Kimmich eating most of the minutes at # 6 and Goretzka taking up most of the minutes at # 8. With Gravenberch and Sabi in the fray, it would be nearly impossible to give Musiala anything worthwhile.

Bayern need a team where there are more players who are fresh and ready to stabilize the ship in case of injuries or fatigue. Frequent rotation is needed, which is why all four midfielders need a healthy share of minutes. Musiala simply cannot join that group, because a) the midfield is not CLOSE to its best position, and b) there simply won’t be any more time with all the competition for the two places.


Most of Musiala’s goals and assists came from the wings.
Photo by KERSTIN JOENSSON / AFP via Getty Images

But playing Musiala on the flanks will solve most of the problems in attack. Firstly, we would have a winger whose pace and dribbling ability are second to none, and a player who could change his game on his own from position. I can bet that with frequent starts, he would deliver 30g / y in all competitions each season. This is the caliber of him. Secondly, the midfield minutes shouldn’t be reshuffled and Nagelsmann could also try 2 separate combos – Kimmetzka and Grabitzer. And third, Müller shouldn’t be benched. At least, not to give Musiala minutes.

So yes, ideally Musiala should be a Bayern winger. However, we’ll have to wait and see what Nagelsmann has in store for the player. What do you think? Is Musiala better suited to wings or elsewhere? Let us know in the comments!

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