Manuel Veth –
It is only mid-June, but Bayern München have moved rapidly on the transfer market. On Saturday Bayern announced the signing of German attacking midfielder Serge Gnabry and then just a few days later on Wednesday Bayern concluded their second deal by signing Corentin Tolisso from Olympique Lyon for €41.5 million.
Both deals were somewhat surprising given the fact that Bayern were widely understood to go for a big transfer this summer. Those close to the headquarters at the Säbener Straße will have been aware of the rumblings at the club after the quarter-final defeat to Real Madrid.
The general feeling in the Bavarian capital has been that Bayern will have to make a major splash in this summer’s transfer window to compensate this summer’s departure of Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso and the ageing Arjen Robben and Frank Ribéry. Hence, the Bayern bosses have considered selling one of the club’s significant assets; the likely candidate would be Jérôme Boateng to create the financial freedom to bring in attacking forward Alexis Sánchez from Arsenal.
Corentin Tolisso – Youth Over Superstars?
This kind of rumblings, however, have also created a general sense of uneasiness among the club’s fans. Sánchez, who is currently with Chile at the Confederations Cup, would cost the club in the region of €180 million over the next four years—a lot of money for a 28-year-old forward. It is the kind of financial risk that Bayern have always shied away from.
Instead, Bayern have always focused on affordable talent that can be formed into star players at the club. The signings of Serge Gnabry and Corentin Tolisso now indicate that two weeks into June the camp of financial sensibility has won out in Munich.
Corentin Tolisso is the sort of transfer that suggests that Bayern want to build for the future using patience rather than the route taken by the great English and Spanish clubs. The talented French midfielder Tolisso has more or less flown under the radar of most Bayern fans.
But early indications are that Bayern may have landed just the player that they needed. Adrien Candau from the French football magazine SO FOOT took the time to speak to the Futbolgrad Network on Bayern’s new signing. Candau believes that Tolisso is certainly an astute signing by the club. “Tolisso is a very versatile player with good passing abilities, an accurate and powerful shot and with good endurance.”
Candau also believes that Tolisso despite his age can take a leadership role at Bayern. “Since 2014 he is one of Lyon’s most valuable player. Particularly for a 22-year-old. He has already experience in both the Europa League and the Champions League.”
One question in the German media has been Tolisso’s price. Valued at €22.5 million on transfermarkt.de Bayern had to pay €41.5 million for the French midfielder. But Candau believes that Tolisso is worth the money. “€40 million, plus bonuses, seems high at first glance, but the market prices are extremely high today, and Tolisso was a much-coveted player. Last summer, for example, Napoli wanted to recruit him, but could not get him as the player preferred to stay in Lyon for one more year.”
Can Corentin Tolisso Make an Immediate Impact?
The only question mark that remains for Candau is whether Tolisso can make the quick step from the Ligue 1 to the Bundesliga. “I don’t know if he is mature enough to be in the starting eleven of Bayern next year. The Bundesliga is a much more competitive and challenging league than the French league, and it will be interesting to see if Tolisso can progress to a level to become an outstanding player at Bayern.”
Tolisso is certainly an exciting signing for a club that will have to undergo a major squad transition over the coming two years. The recent signing of Renato Sanches, who has struggled to make an immediate mark on the club, has shown that young players from abroad can find it difficult to make the adjustment to the Rekordmeister.
The experienced Bayern München blogger Susie Schaaf has recently criticised Carlo Ancelotti on the Gegenpressing Bundesliga Podcast for his inability to integrate young talent. But with Bayern bringing in the 21-year-old Serge Gnabry and the 22-year-old Corentin Tolisso indications are that Bayern’s management are committed to focusing on youth rather than expensive stars from abroad.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.