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Neymar to Bayern Munich: How Could Santos Star Fit Under Pep Guardiola?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  Neymar of Brazil during an International Friendly between Brazil and Russia at Stamford Bridge on March 25, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMay 14, 2013

And so the saga takes another twist, this time in favour of Bavaria.

A former Santos official has claimed they Neymar is Bayern Munich-bound this summer: bit.ly/10KFzK3

— Goal.com(@goal_intl) May 14, 2013

The official in question, Vicente Cascione, is former the vice president of the club Neymar currently plays for, and wrote the following on his blog (h/t Goal.com):

I have this information first hand. Neymar has signed for Bayern Munich. It's already a done deal.

I am not speculating here. This information is irrefutable. From August this year on, the player will be part of Bayern's squad.

So his next destination will not be Spain, like many expected. He's not going to Barcelona or Real Madrid. He will go to Germany.

Of course, in the same report, Bayern have explicitly denied any knowledge of the deal—in a way, that's all football is: grumpy old men looking at numbers and denying things left, right and centre.

But the news forces us to think about the possibility of Neymar at Bayern and with it how he would fit under Pep Guardiola.

Suffice it to say, this Bayern team is starting to look a little like a German version of the Galacticos: A star-studded defence, a world-class goalkeeper, a physically superior midfield and an attack you'd pay money not to play against.

The big recent debate has surrounded whether or not Guardiola will install Mario Goetze as a false-nine.

Some believed a 4-3-3 was in the offing, with Franck Ribery on the left and Thomas Muller on the right. That left a central three of Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, completing one of the most dangerous lineups in world football history.

Others believed the signing was primarily to add depth—given how Bayern have missed the wonderful play of the criminally underrated Kroos—and also to weaken Borussia Dortmund, their nearest rivals.

In that respect, Bayern could continue with the 4-2-3-1 shape, adapting it and changing it on a game-by-game basis.

Adding Neymar into the mix only intensifies the battle to make the starting XI and in turn gives incoming boss Guardiola players to play with.

Guardiola is known to study hours of film on his opponents, watching until he finds what he calls "the Eureka! moment"—the way in which his side can exploit the opponent's weaknesses.

Ultimate tactical and personnel flexibility is needed for this, and Neymar would allow him more freedom than any manager in the history of the game.

 

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