The Austrian defensive midfielder has just turned 25 years old, bringing him towards the peak of his career. Konrad Laimer is just one of many players who has taken the well-trodden path between Salzburg and Leipzig, thanks to a certain Austrian drinks company negatively encroaching into football for financial gain
At this unnamed financially-driven club in western Saxony, he’s slowly made a name for himself, earning a centurion of Bundesliga appearances and contributing directly to more than 20 goals in that same period. Playing in a multitude of positions, similar to a certain Joshua Kimmich, he’s successfully plied his trade in central midfield, anchoring it in defensive midfield, either side of it on the flanks, and also regularly at right-back
In FC Bayern’s already-laden midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are the two undisputed starters behind Thomas Müller at the attacking tip of the midfield trio. Jamal Musiala is slowly transitioning into a deeper position à-la-Bastian Schweinsteiger, putting him in contention with Marcel Sabitzer and now also new signing Ryan Gravenberch, following Corentin Tolisso’s departure. The squad is already set in midfield, with two undisputed players in the double pivot, and up to three options behind to cover if need be. Tanguy Nianzou Kouassi can also play in defensive midfield, if worst comes to worst
Looking at the 2021/22 season just gone by, Marc Roca transferred to Leeds United following a lack of minutes in midfield. Failing to make an impact in the squad being so far down the depth of the pecking order, he needed to seek pastures new to gain playing time – and this is on top of Corentin Tolisso’s injuries, meaning neither player would play more than 3-4 full 90-minute matches in an entire season
In this scenario, it’s hard to imagine dropping either Joshua Kimmich or Leon Goretzka for the incoming Konrad Laimer, nor does it seem viable to put him ahead of his former captain Marcel Sabitzer. Granted, it’ll be covering different positions, as the last true defensive midfielder in the squad was Javi Martínez, but having flexible players to cover multiple positions seems more viable than having one for each type of player. We can easily see Marcel Sabitzer is a like-for-like replacement to Leon Goretzka, whereas Joshua Kimmich no longer has a defensive midfielder behind him. Konrad Laimer will give him some competition for the position, but with Kimmich’s driven attitude, does he really need it? On top of this, he’s also arguably the best defensive midfielder in the world, and has been for a few years now
We don’t really need Konrad Laimer, do we?
And this will make him the third player to follow JN to FC Bayern, following Dayot Upamecano and Marcel Sabitzer, neither of whom have particularly stood out. What are your thoughts?