Nicolas Pepe should move to Bayern Munich this summer amid interest from a host of top clubs across Europe, including Liverpool and Inter Milan.
LOSC Lille star Nicolas Pepe has arguably been the most sought-after player in Europe this summer following a remarkable campaign in Ligue 1 last term. Indeed, the Ivorian international scored 22 goals and provided 11 assists in 38 matches for Les Dogues.
Pepe’s services on the flanks and in front of goal played a critical role behind Lille’s impressive second-place finish in the league. And his performances didn’t go unnoticed with a host of top clubs across Europe reportedly keen on his services in the ongoing summer transfer window.
Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Inter Milan, Bayern Munich as well as Liverpool, are just some of the clubs that have shown an interest in the 24-year-old. Manchester United, too, have remained keen as the Ivorian continues to contemplate his future next season.
Liverpool, in particular, were closing in on the capture of the Lille winger earlier this summer. But, those speculations have faded, and the Reds looks to have shifted their attention towards Real Madrid star Marco Asensio.
Nonetheless, Pepe will have a serious dilemma when choosing his ideal suitor next season. However, one club he should really consider moving to is Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Bayern Munich’s attacking woes
Bayern Munich are usually known for their attractive brand of football irrespective of their coach’s playing system. But, despite maintaining their dominance over German football, the Bavarians have duly struggled following the departure of Pep Guardiola. They were notably given a run for their money by Borussia Dortmund last season, who were only seven shy of Bayern’s tally of 88 league goals last term.
A majority of those goals were scored by the duo of Robert Lewandowski (22) and Serge Gnabry (10), who ended the campaign as the club’s player of the season. But, with both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben (retired) leaving the club, the Bavarians could be in serious trouble next season.
Thomas Muller has also struggled with a lack of productivity. The German international has scored only 17 league goals in the last three seasons, which is three less than what he achieved during the 2015/16 campaign under Guardiola (20).
Additionally, James Rodriguez is on the verge of moving to Napoli after initially returning to Real Madrid this summer. Hence, the addition of a new attacker could be imperative if they are to continue their dominance in Germany in the coming years.
How does Pepe fit into Bayern under Niko Kovac?
Niko Kovac loves hard-working attackers, who can not only provide attacking impetus in the final third but also have the tenacity and willingness to win the ball back for their team. Pepe, in that regard, could be an ideal fit.
Even though the Ivorian international is not exactly as hard working as the likes of Ante Rebic or Filip Kostic of Eintracht Frankfurt, he has the tenacity as well as the pace to make a real difference at the Allianz Arena. That means if Pepe can improve his overall athleticism, he can be utilised as a pressing machine alongside the likes of Lewandowski and Muller, both of who have high work-rate.
This can be compared to Jurgen Klopp’s attacking setup at Liverpool, where the German tends to deploy his front three in a free-flowing formation. Under Kovac, however, they will feature in a disciplined role, and that could suit Pepe’s game since he’s not a jack of all trades but is more of an explosive winger, who relies on his pace and trickery.
Bayern Munich’s attacking setup and how it could suit Pepe
We have already discussed one tactical aspect of Pepe’s potential inclusion into the Bayern Munich set up. But, it’s also fair to point out that despite being regarded as one of the most cohesive big teams in Europe, the Bavarians, to an extent, have appeared overly reliant on their wingers over the past five-six years.
While central striker Lewandowski has never really struggled to find the back of the net consistently, it’s the wingers that have supplied the much-needed support as well as the additional productivity that has made Bayern one of the most feared teams in club football.
And with Robben and Ribery’s era at Bayern coming to an end last season, it could be time for the wide-attacking trio of Kingsley Coman, Pepe and Gnabry to take on the mantle of becoming the weapon-in-chief for the Bundesliga giants.
It’s no secret that Bayern are set to undergo a potential transitional phase in the attack and Pepe, in that regard, could well play the role of a protagonist.