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Expert View: Upamecano’s sudden u-turn doesn’t preclude a move to Bayern next summer…

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Dayot Upamecano (li.) im Spiel gegen den FC Bayern

Image credit: Getty Images

ByPete Sharland
30/04/2020 at 12:10 | Updated 30/04/2020 at 12:25
@PeteSharland

After Dayot Upamecano’s surprising and sudden decision to stay at RB Leipzig we asked our colleague from Eurosport Germany Tom Mueller what it means for the exciting young centre-back.

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WHAT HAS HAPPENED

On Wednesday Sky Germany reported that 21-year-old Upamecano had decided to extend his contract with RB Leipzig. His existing deal would have been up at the end of summer 2021 but reportedly he will only extend for one more year until 2022.

They also reported that there will be a release clause in this new deal.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

A one-year extension normally only means one thing. It’s that a player wants to leave but not just yet. It also often signals an amicable understanding between club and player.

“It seems that a move this summer is off the table,” explains Eurosport Germany’s Tom Mueller.

In my opinion that’s clearly a sign that Upamecano is happy in Leipzig now and happy to learn, but if his development continues he will likely leave Leipzig sooner than later.

“Under these circumstances a move 2021 or 2022 would be no surprise.”

SO… BAYERN? OR SOMEONE ELSE?

Bild have heavily reported Bayern Munich’s interest, to the extent that there is an agreement between the two parties, the champions just didn’t want to pay Upamecano’s release clause.

However, Mueller doesn’t think it’s as simple as all that.

Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) and Thomas Müller (FC Bayern)

Image credit: Getty Images

“Upamecano has been on Bayern’s radar for a long time and he made a phenomenal impression in the Bundesliga game against them last December.

“However if you look at Bayern’s centre-backs there is no need for another player right now, since [David] Alaba moved from left-back to centre-back as well.

“[Nuklas] Süle will come back and there is also [Lucas] Hernandez, [Benjamin] Pavard, [Jerome] Boateng and [Javi] Martinez.

“But since the future of some of these players are not set and Upamecano won’t be sold to another club this summer, Bayern will be in the pole position 2021.

They had talks with him reportedly and if they see him as a future asset, they are favourites.

A switch to Bayern is not a guarantee, though.

“But I could see Upamecano at another European top club as well.

“As you know Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Barcelona have been strongly linked with him as well.”

IS HE WORTH ALL THE HYPE?

As far as Mueller is concerned Upamecano “has all the skills required to become a world-class centre-back.”

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As he points out Upamecano has been competing at the highest stage since he was 18 and some have already started to compare him to a certain Liverpool defender. He has the talent for sure says Mueller but let’s not get too carried away.

“I saw a lot of YouTube videos with his defensive plays etc. which stated that he is the next big defensive star after Van Dijk.” Mueller says. “That’s a bit too far I think.”

But even if people are getting carried away there is certainly a lot to like.

He is very, very fast for a centre back and has the vision for the game as well, which is becoming more and more important nowadays for defenders.

“I think he and Dan-Axel Zagadou are by far the two most interesting prospects for Bundesliga centre backs and will have great careers if nothing unexpected happens.

“I read a comparison with him to former French star Marcel Desailly, which I think is pretty fitting. But because of his strong passing and his physical skills I would also say he could be compared to Van Dijk (of course miles away, but still…) and Kalidou Koulibaly.

Regardless of who signs Upamecano it sounds as if they are going to be getting a very promising prospect.

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