I’m back from my short break, and I already have my next take: Sadio Mané shouldn’t be Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski replacement. Sure, he’s a great winger-striker hybrid who can score plenty of goals and provide assists, but he’s not the proper No.9. And while it’s entirely possible Bayern could change their approach and play a formation without a ‘real striker’, the club have thrived with traditional No.9s throughout their history.
Gerd Müller, KHR, Élber, Luca Toni, Klinsmann, Pizarro, Roy Makaay, Klose and of course Robert Lewandowski are just some of the distinguished names that come to mind when we think of Bayern’s great strikers. When it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it, and the same applies here. Bayern just need another good 9 to take Lewandowski’s place when he leaves (although it pains me to say it, I think Lewandowski is almost gone, and we might as well start planning the post-Lewy era.
Mané would more likely take Serge Gnabry’s place should a transfer materialise. The German winger doesn’t seem keen on extending even though the offer is more than fair. With the options for a striker replacement drying up fast, here’s a list of players Brazzo & Co can target to mitigate the massive loss of offensive firepower:
To note: Darwin Nuñez to Liverpool is more or less a done deal, so he doesn’t make this list.
Inter Milan’s star striker is a man Bayern management have had their eyes on for some time. And the same goes for various other big clubs in Europe. The talisman netted 25 goals and 4 assists for Inter in the 2021/22 season, helping them to a comfortable second place. While he doesn’t have the height we look for in typical No.9s, he’s pretty decent in the air, has a very powerful shot, is very quick and has average dribbling.
The assets Bayern will value most, however, are his ability to swap positions with the rest of the front line and his spatial awareness, two qualities that make him deadly, with all his well-timed runs and the ability to control and to end up- bullets. It’s something that could be particularly interesting for Kimmich and Müller, who specialize in quick passes and through balls.
The biggest hurdle, however, is transfer fees. He’s tied to Inter until 2026, and Bayern would have to pay a minimum of €80m to even have a chance of landing him. I just don’t see that happening, but the club could do much worse.
Definitely my second favorite pick on this list, and for good reason. I’m sure many of you have thought “who is the beep is that it?”, and honestly, I wouldn’t expect you to know either. This man went under the radar largely because of his trade for Sassuolo in Serie A, and because of the emergence of players like Haaland and Nuñez who have taken center stage, but believe me, this man could be part of a top 10 strikers conversation in a few years.
First, he’s super tall at 1.95m (yes, he’s as tall as Niklas Süle) and would fill Bayern’s giant quota. Second, he has all the attributes Bayern look for in a good No.9: good holding and linking play, decent dribbling, good pace, good passing stats and a threat in the air. Thirdly, he shows great leadership qualities and more or less carried his team to an 11th place. In 25 starts, he scored 16 goals for the club. For Sassuolo. Imagine what this guy can do with good serve.
And here’s the best part: Bayern can potentially sign him this summer for 40 million or less. It’s actually 15 million less than what we would pay for a Mané transfer. He is only 23 years old and has just given the German defense multiple scares during their confrontation in the championship of nations with Italy. And he should cost less than 15 million per season in salaries. That’s pretty cheap for strikers these days.
So yes, a player to keep both eyes on.
The popular choice. A proven option in the Bundesliga. A German speaker. Stands super tall at 2 meters (!!!) and is a beast in the air. Directly contributed to 23 Bundesliga goals in the 20/21 season, a figure which was reduced to just 8 in the 21/22 season following a long-term injury. The Austrian is very physical, difficult to score, and has caught the eye of various European clubs, including Bayern’s German rivals Dortmund.
The Austrian is said to be available for a fee close to €20m, and it might just be an absolute bargain. However, he has just returned from a concerning injury recently, and this could raise the possibility of further injuries in the future (especially if there is a possibility of this injury happening again). There’s also another minor issue… his ceiling. He might prove me wrong in the future, but I don’t think Sasa is a player who can become one of the best strikers on the world stage. He can be a great team player and maybe a consistent striker of 25 goals per season, but I don’t see him reaching the level of Kane or Benzema, let alone Lewandowski.
It’s by no means an affront, however, and he just might prove me wrong and become the striker replacement we’ve all been looking for. It’s great value for money and a solid option.
It’s always very refreshing to see great young talent appearing on transfer lists. They usually have enormous potential, good value for money and the possibility of long-term investment. And in this case, Sesko seems to tick all those boxes. The Slovenian phenom, who plies his trade for RB Salzburg, has been touted by many as the ‘next big thing’. He is 1.94m tall, has a powerful shot, is very fast and not afraid to challenge opposing defenders.
He is also strong in the air and made his presence felt in the second half of the season, where he directly contributed to 11 goals. Plus, he speaks German, comes from the Red Bull setup, and suits the rush style well. His hold-up game is underrated, his awareness and vision are excellent and his imposing style of play and way of running in defense is reminiscent of a certain Erling Haaland, who incidentally also played for RB Salzburg before catapult themselves onto the world stage.
Sesko could come for very cheap (20 million tops in transfer fee) and has a very high cap and huge potential. I would really like a transfer to materialize since he has everything it takes to take the torch from Lewandowski and become the Bavarians’ strike force for the next decade. However, the small sample size and lack of experience in big games might prove to be a roadblock. That being said, there are several Bayern players who have matured tremendously over the years and become world beaters, and he could well be next.
My favorite option, and probably the most complete player on this list. Sparkling with his performances for Mainz in the Bundesliga and contributing 14 goals and 4 assists in his breakthrough season with the club, the 21-year-old has impressed everyone, including NT’s German manager Hansi Flick. Yes, he’s just had a very good season so far, but the sample is very promising.
The player is as good at creating as he is at scoring. He is a centre-forward who can flourish as a false 9 as well as a second striker. The man creates tons of chances for his teammates and had the most key passes in the Mainz team by a mile and a half. 6ft tall, he also has the size and physique to make him a force in the box. He is also deceptively fast and can score easily with both feet.
Could he be Bayern’s solution to the striker position? Could he also become Germany’s solution to their long-standing striker problem (which arose after the retirement of Miroslav Klose)? He would be available for a reduced price of around 20 million euros, given that his contract expires in 2024. That is what appeals to me the most, coupled with his age and the fact that he is German, which is a preferred model. by Bayern brass.
It’s true that we haven’t seen enough of the player to be sure he’s of Bayern quality, but it’s also possible that by the time we get to know him it might be too late. and get caught by a European rival.
Andrej Kramaric, Lucas Alario
palliative options. Reliable, productive and gets the job done. Kramaric has been Hoffenheim’s go-to striker option for eternity, and he’s always found aces and spaces for them. It’s certainly not a game changer for the striker, but can certainly hold the fort and produce the goods up front until Bayern are able to field a better option. Sure, maybe the club aren’t desperate yet, but if a Lewandowski exit materializes and the club are unable to land a suitable replacement in time, Bayern’s brass could be running out of options.
Leverkusen already have a top striker in Patrik Schick, but that means Alario, another excellent striker, has found himself on the outside. He certainly won’t be happy with sporadic minutes as a substitute and could look for a more stable one. role elsewhere. Of course, it would be hard to choose between him and Choupo, as there doesn’t seem to be a huge gap in quality between the players. However, when Alario launches he can be very consistent, and he would be a reliable option for a year or two until we can select Lewandowski’s next true successor.
And that brings us to the end of this list. Of course, there may be many forwards that I haven’t included, but I guess those are the players that caught my eye, due to the fit with the team and the formation, style of game, price and many other factors.
Which of these players would you like to see at Bayern? Do you have any other striker suggestions/cries? Let us know in the comments!