Bayern Munich’s summer window has been memorable so far, with some superb players joining the team in Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch and Sadio Mane, the latter being the major highlight. However, it looks like sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic is hungry for me and maybe considering a certain burly Dutch centre-back to satiate his gigantic appetite. Yes, it’s true. The man has his eyes on Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt.
It’s hard to say exactly when this love affair may have started, but rumor has it that Bayern have always been very interested in acquiring the ultra-talented defender, with the desire dating back to 2018 when De Ligt was still an Ajax player. . player. However, Juventus snuck in and snatched him right under the noses of some major European heavyweights for a whopping €75m. Bayern ended up signing Lucas Hernandez in the same window for a club-record fee of €80m, and I doubt anyone will regret the move.
However, as the signing of a certain ‘Supamecano’ Dayot hasn’t exactly gone so well, Bayern management seem keen on signing an elite centre-back with leadership qualities, a great passing range and significant experience. This is where De Ligt comes in. So what does this transfer offer?
De Ligt is your typical physical centre-back. He is quite tall with 1.89 cm and very imposing. His defensive awareness and solid 1v1 tackling have often drawn praise. He is very good with the ball and is quite similar to Boateng in terms of ball progression and long-range passing ability. De Ligt is also very good at switching games from wing to wing during transition periods, which makes him a valuable part of build-up strategies.
Importantly, De Ligt is right-footed which means he wouldn’t be competing with Lucas Hernandez for a starting spot. Thus, the long-awaited dream of Bayern fans to have two of the best centre-backs in the world paired up for Bayern’s big games will come true. That’s not to say it will be easy to start with the rest of Bayern’s centre-back options (okay, maybe if Upa remains as inconsistent as he has been).
The Dutchman is also very strong in the air, and just like Hernandez, wins the majority of his aerial duels. It would also give Bayern an edge in set-piece situations, as De Ligt is very Hummels-esque when it comes to heading around corners and free-kicks. It also seems very likely that we will lose Robert Lewandowski this summer, we could use all the air help we can get.
If there’s one notable criticism of his style of play, it’s that:
- He marks his man very closely (strangely similar to Upamecano) and prefers to do everything physically which can put him in a precarious position with light-footed wingers/forwards. He’s not very good at spacing himself out well, which he might want to improve.
- He’s very handball-prone (it’s happened a few times) and his decision-making inside the penalty area has been somewhat suspect. Again, we just don’t want an Upamecano 2.0 for double the money, so it should improve.
- The man, like Lucas Hernandez, isn’t afraid to get carded. However, unlike Hernandez, De Ligt isn’t well versed in the dark arts and at times looks like a trigger-happy kid, enjoying the different colors of the cards in the referee’s pocket.
If he manages to improve all these attributes, nothing stops him. I mean, he’s already the best young centre-back in Europe for a reason.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room first: CASH. Juventus are currently demanding a fee of over €75m PLUS add-ons, which could bring the total to over €90m, which is just insane. Yes, Bayern aren’t exactly afraid to spend big when they see fit, like they did on the signing of Lucas Hernandez. However, that still feels like a crazy amount of money for a player who has arguably regressed somewhat, even slightly, from his Ajax peak.
Granted, Brazzo is a master negotiator and could bring that number down. However, there is a feeling that the transfer fee shouldn’t exceed €60m. And it makes sense. The player only has 2 years left on his contract, and that’s still a lot of money. Moreover, add-ons could increase this figure to 70 million. Moreover, a huge transfer fee would add even more pressure on the young player.
Secondly, Bayern already have four centre-backs for the same spot (Upamecano and Benjamin Pavard the more experienced options, Chris Richards and Tanguy Nianzou being the exciting young talents). I can’t help but think that Nagelsmann is going to tinker a lot with the back 3. Because if not, Upa is almost gone, because I certainly wouldn’t like a sharp newbie to waltz into my position at work.
And last but not least, the man might be pretty chonky when we sign him. There have been concerns (mostly just BS media) about him hoarding the books. Put 2 and 2 together, and you get a Niklas Süle 2.0 saga, which we just don’t need. Maybe the club should introduce fast food rules. I know it’s not a major concern at the moment, but it might be considered a risk by some (no matter how inane it may seem to many).
Is he the right person?
Three years ago, this question would have been very easy to answer, and that answer would have been an easy and massive YES. A player from THIS side of Ajax under the brilliant pressing system of Erik ten Hag. A player well versed in the art of counter press and high line tactics. A player who would fit right into a backline that uses a similar system, like (you guessed it right!) Bayern Munich.
However, Juventus are the antithesis of Bayern in many ways, and Serie A is certainly the slowest of Europe’s top six leagues, which could mean that De Ligt may have fallen when it comes to his transition speed. , his ball progression, and general pace. Of course, the counter-argument could be that the player could also be more complete now since he also knows the art of the counter well (parking the bus, mainly) which could benefit us in cup competitions.
It’s common knowledge that the average Serie A player has the mobility of a turtle, which is why Nagelsmann would have his work cut out when integrating the player into the first team. De Ligt should do a lot of work to make sure his style and pace fit in seamlessly with the rest of the defence. Bayern are an intense press machine, and De Ligt has the right tools to make it work. He just had to use them correctly.
The Dutchman would fit alongside Hernandez in the heart of the defence, and their qualities would complement their game very well.
I really hate the transfer fee, but other than that I would love this transfer. The Bayern defense would hopefully be sorted for another decade, Hernandez would have his constant partner at centre-back, De Ligt would finally get the move he always wanted and Juventus would bathe in the money that they win because of this deal. A “W” for all parties involved.
I think he would fit very well into Nagelsmann’s system, and his playing from deep, defensive awareness, along with the ‘clutch’ gene, would make us a fierce contender in the UCL, if not instant favorites (again). We should also be less prone to silly mistakes under pressure since De Ligt is a player who thrives in high pressure situations.
Also, we probably need to fill that wide gaping hole that Süle’s departure created with an equally wide player. We must maintain our quota of “bacon-asses” constant. And De Ligt would feel right at home with Uli’s currywursts.