Who can replace Bayern's irreplaceable Arjen Robben?
Background Photo: Jason Paris, CC by 2.0
Arjen Robben’s retirement sparks the end of an era at Bayern Munich. The Dutch winger recently announced he’ll hang up his boots in 2019 after almost a decade at the club. During a slightly tumultuous phase, his announcement adds another headache to the men upstairs.
Robben's exit leaves a big hole in die Roten's attacking front. Not only was Robben a highly gifted individual able to create magic from thin air, he was a leader in the locker room. In his 300+ appearances for the club, the Dutchman exceeded a century both in goals and assists. His accolades while in Bavaria make for a long list:
- seven Bundesliga titles
- four DFB Pokals
- five German Super Cups
- a Champions League crown
- a UEFA Super Cup
- a FIFA Club World Cup for the team
- 2009/10 Bayern Player of the Year
- 2010 Bayern Footballer of the Year
- 2009/10 Bundesliga Player of the Year
- 2010 Germany Footballer of the Year
Then there are the 11 other trophies from his spells with PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid.
The Dutch wizard had it in him to score the most outrageous manner. He developed his own trademark style over the years at Bayern. Robben troubled the Bundesliga teams with his movement from the right flank, hugging the touchline until just below the 18-yard-box then cutting inside to score with his left foot. He was eminently predictable but also completely unstoppable.
Save for Lionel Messi, Robben’s style is unmatched, making it even more difficult to find a perfect replacement. Unless they pry the Argentine from Barcelona's grasp, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge won’t uncover a carbon copy of their balding Dutch winger. Maybe they can sign someone with commensurate talent. Whoever it is, must score and provide goals consistently from the right side. In short, the Bayern brain trust requires a ready-made world-class player. Not an easy assignment.
Happily, I am here to help. Here are three viable options for the Bavarians.