There are very few teams with a squad as littered with talent as Bayern Munich.
At this moment in time, they undeniably have top quality options in every single position on the pitch, and that has allowed them to hold all six titles available to them.
However, there is always room for improvement. At the time of writing, Hansi Flick’s side are without a clean sheet in seven matches and, although Dayot Upemecano will join the squad in the summer, David Alaba’s almost-guaranteed departure and Jerome Boateng’s penchant for the disorderly will need to be addressed.
However, it’s players in the middle of the park that Bayern have been linked recently. Saul Niguez and Federico Valverde have both been rumoured to be on the radar of the Bundesliga club, but it simply wouldn’t be right to bring in a central midfielder before anything else – certainly not one that would not accept playing second fiddle.
Why would the acquisition of a marquee central midfielder signing be so wrong? Because of Leon Goretzka.
The man who they signed from Schalke back in 2018 has had a steady development in all areas of his game at the German champions and is now rapidly becoming the perfect midfielder and utterly undroppable at the heart of the Bayern team.
His progression under Flick has seen him become integral to Bayern’s quick, fluid and ruthless approach. His staggering athleticism lets him bomb from box to box while his technical ability makes his contribution to play really count.
Out of all of the Bundesliga players in his position to have played at least 900 minutes of football this season, Goretzka ranks fourth for progressive passes per 90 (with 5.86) and only team-mate Joshua Kimmich boasts more than his passes into the final third per 90 (also 5.86), while only Axel Witsel has a higher long pass completion rate than him – demonstrating how essential he is to Bayern’s quickfire manner of playing.
The German also has a fantastic goal and shot creation record per 90 (0.8) among centre midfielders this season – only bettered by Kimmich in the Bundesliga – while he has always had an eye for goal, scoring 24 in 106 matches for Bayern. At the time of writing, Goretzka has scored two and assisted four in his last five appearances, including his side’s all-important third in a 4-2 win against Borussia Dortmund and a phenomenal hat-trick of assists in a 5-1 romp of FC Koln.
It’s not just with the ball and in forward areas that Goretzka impacts proceedings, either. He has the third highest pressing success rate 38.7% out of players in his position in the whole of the Bundesliga. The midfielder also has 75 tackles and interceptions in the league this campaign – that is 19 more than any other Bayern player.
The 26-year-old has fantastic individual stats this year, that is evident. But what has been especially exciting for Bayern fans is the partnership he has with Kimmich in the side’s engine room. Their link up play and understanding of each other’s games is brilliant and only improving.
Goretzka’s energy, strength and drive all around the field never isolates Kimmich, allowing him to dictate play as he so fantastically does.
Their crucial partnership was exemplified perfectly in early January when Bayern hosted Mainz at the Allianz Arena. Only Kimmich started that game and by half-time, the Bavarians found themselves trailing 2-0. Flick introduced Goretzka to the midfield at the break and, fast-forward 45 minutes, Bayern ran out 5-2 winners – with the freedom Goretzka gave his partner, Kimmich bagged a goal and an assist. Coincidence? Nah.
While squad depth is, of course, integral to any silverware-winning club, Bayern already have the likes of Corentin Tolisso (although injury has hindered his progress somewhat) and Marco Roca. A new addition to sure up Flick’s options wouldn’t be the worst move for the Bavarians, but a marquee signing to slot into that midfield is simply not needed – Bayern already have one of the best midfields in Europe.
The introduction of a player expecting to be first choice would hinder Goretzka’s phenomenal progression and, as a consequence, Bayern’s already near-perfect midfield.
They don’t need a big-name signing; they’ve already got Goretzka.