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Bayern Munich Sign MLS Wunderkind Alphonso Davies: Smart Move Or Commercial Stunt?

Friday 27th July 2018

A transfer bomb hit both the German Bundesliga and the MLS this Tuesday, as it was widely reported that Bayern Munich had reached an agreement to sign Alphonso Davies; arguably the most promising youngster in the league and a legit wunderkind, from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The German powerhouses paid around £11.1m, although the transfer includes substantial add-ons that could make the entire package worth a record £18.8million. It must be noted that Davies will remain with the Whitecaps for the rest of the season, and honestly, we might not see him wearing Bayern’s uniform in quite a while. Remember, the young man is only 17, with the jump-in-quality from the MLS to the Bundesliga hugely substantial.

However, a huge question comes from this deal. Did Bayern sanction the transfer because they really wanted to sign Davies? Or did they target the latest young sensation from the MLS to broaden their fanbase in America? A continent that is largely dominated by local football and the English Premier League when it comes to support... That is a fair question to ask. Let’s look at some of the details involving the transaction.

Bayern’s past experiences with American players

This is not the first time Bayern sign an American player (and before you point it out – yes, we know he is Canadian. But you get the point, don’t you?) as Julian Green and Landon Donovan previously featured for the German giants. Donovan didn't make much of an impact with the club, eventually proving he was far better suited to play in the English Premier League, while Green’s case is even sadder.

Green came through Bayern’s youth ranks and many pundits believe he was a legit prospect back in the day; think about Christian Pulisic in Borussia Dortmund roughly two years ago as a comparison. However, Green never settled and couldn’t make an impact for the Bavarians. He left the side in 2017 and right now he plays for Greuther Furth in the 2. Bundesliga. They are hoping Davies turns out different.

What is the impact of the deal for the MLS?

The impact of the deal in the MLS is huge. The league has grown in stature considerably over the past few years, and now it features players such as Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa and others that could easily be playing their trade in a more competitive country. But the fact that a team with Bayern's could lead other clubs taking a look at American football as a source for top talent.

What are his chances of playing for Bayern soon?

We can’t forget about Davies’ qualities as a footballer. Even though we must consider the level of competition he was in – as the MLS could only be equivalent to a mid-tier league in Europe, at best – one thing is certain: the boy is as talented as it can get, and he has all the tools necessary to make an impact for a team like Bayern… if he keeps working hard and stays grounded, who knows where his talent could take him.

Footballing-wise, Davies is an attacking midfielder capable of playing across the final third. However, he profiles best as a left winger. That’s the position he has been filling this season for the Whitecaps and while the team has been quite inconsistent, Davies has looked impressive in his own right. Through 20 appearances, the attacker has three goals and six assists. His skill set is good enough to consider him the long-term replacement for players such as Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. But it will only depend on his development and growth.

Prediction

Bayern’s handling of Davies will ultimately determine why the team signed him in the first place. But considering he will remain with Vancouver until the end of the current season, the best scenario would be to imagine a loan spell, with an eye towards making Bayern’s first team in either 2019 or 2020 when he will be around 20-years-old.

We only know one thing, though. The talent is there. And Bayern did a great job to steal such a talented prospect from the noses of Manchester United and Real Madrid, two other teams that were tracking him closely.

Juan Pablo Aravena

29-year-old sports analyst and journalist with over three years of experience in the industry. Writes about all kinds of sports from football to golf, but there is no question his biggest passion in life is football. Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Colo Colo fan.


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