Julian Nagelsmann's to-do list: From tactical changes to the next generation - Inside Football
In the latest edition of Inside Football our insider Dean Jones looks at the tasks facing new Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann. From establishing a new tactical identity and winning over the experienced players in the squad to preparing to usher in a new era in Munich there is a lot going on.
Julian Nagelsmann wird ab 1. Juli 2024 Trainer beim FC Bayern München
Published 30/04/2021 at 10:00 GMT | Updated 30/04/2021 at 11:00 GMT
Julian Nagelsmann has been catapulted into one of the most high-profile jobs in European football and from July 1 we will discover whether he has the tools to provide success.
This is a big decision from Bayern, who are making one of the biggest investments in a coach that European football has ever seen. Simply getting him out of RB Leipzig could end up costing them up to €25 million if bonus payments are cashed in over the course of his five-year contract.
Nagelsmann is 33 and has never won a major trophy, yet is widely considered as one of the smartest football brains in the world.
Ahead of his arrival, we run through five major issues he will have to deal with at his new club.
Win over the dressing room
The early signs are good for Nagelsmann as key figures within the side are understood to respect him. Reports about his man-management and technical ability have been well received and most of the players have long been aware of his methods and style-of-play, through friends at his previous clubs Hoffenheim and Leipzig.
Before taking this job, it is understood Nagelsmann made contact with some members of the dressing room to gauge morale and thoughts of how the team was prepared for a new era.
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The feedback was good - but soon he will be put to the test.
Nagelsmann is younger than captain Manuel Neuer and of similar age to star players Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski. In the early months of his reign, he will lean on these guys to ensure a smooth transition.
Over the duration of his time at Bayern though, the squad will change. So Nagelsmann will begin early in making sure the side’s future core are happy and thriving.
Adapt the team tactically
Throughout this season, 4-2-3-1 has been used by Bayern under head coach Hansi Flick and it is helpful that this is a system Nagelsmann likes to use too.
However, he also likes his sides to be versatile and play with a three-man defence a lot of the time, which will take time to adjust to. A 3-5-2 or 3-4-2-1 will certainly be seen.
From Leipzig he is bringing video analyst Benjamin Gluck and his tactical analysis will help players adjust to the Nagelsmann way of thinking, but some key players are going to have to be prepared for changes to their roles.
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In defence, Dayot Upamecano is also arriving from Leipzig, which will help in terms of having someone with a complete understanding of the systems. With David Alaba and Jerome Boating departing, Lucas Hernandez will most likely be given more responsibility. It will be interesting to see how Alphonso Davies is used too. His ability from the left side could become even more of a weapon in the side.
The use of a two-man attack would perhaps be the most interesting aspect of any changes to tactics.
Lewandowski is used to leading the attack alone yet Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting may now get an opportunity to play alongside him, rather than instead of him.
In terms of style, Bayern will be attacking and will see a lot of the ball. Possession football is important to Nagelsmann.
Get to grips with the transfer policy
Early word out of Munich suggests Nagelsmann is not about to enjoy a free spending summer with a host of star names arriving.
The Upamecano deal is done and Omar Richards of Reading has signed a pre-contract.
Oliver Kahn is taking over as CEO from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and he, along with sports director Hasan Salihamidzic, will keep the new coach up-to-date with planning on the recruitment front to ensure he feels part of the process.
Oliver Kahn und Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
Image credit: Imago
There is not an expectation to sign any further players from Leipzig and sources say that he is pretty comfortable with the squad he is inheriting, anyway.
Nagelsmann has great ability to improve talent and feels he can take the current side to new levels.
It is possible they will seek a new attacker but if you see rumours around players like Erling Haaland, dismiss them. Huge deals like that are not in sight at this stage.
But there are issues with players such as Kingsley Coman to deal with. Bayern do not want to sell Coman, but his contract runs to 2023 and sorting out whether he is staying long-term is one of the early to-do matters for Nagelsmann to help assess.
Start plotting a squad revamp
As part of signing a five-year contract, Nagelsmann is expected to reshape the squad while ensuring they remain at the peak of their powers.
It is probably going to mean replacing Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski—an almost impossible task.
Kahn and President Herbert Hainer have been working together at Bayern on a strategy which is intended to ensure lasting success and create a clear identity for the coming years. A lot of their focus will be off the pitch but Nagelsmann now becomes part of that movement, thanks to his football brain.
Eduardo Camavinga - Frankreich
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Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Alphonso Davies and Leroy Sane are four key figures he intends to embrace and build around. New signing Upamecano is going to be key - and it is probably time to end the rumours around Niklas Sule and a move to Chelsea. Early indications suggest Sule will be an important figure in Nagelsmann’s plan.
The last section touched on the transfer plans and this is the area where any targets need to fit the bill. They are mainly looking for young, talented, driven players that will take little time to adapt to life at one of the world’s biggest football clubs.
The type of names discussed so far are Norwich City’s 21-year-old Max Aarons, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus, 24, State Rennais’ 18-year-old Eduardo Camavinga and Spezia’s Lucien Agoume, 19.
The fact Nagelsmann is so young himself is also part of this future vision of how Bayern are put together.
They want to be at the forefront of the next generation of talent.
Prove he can be the next Pep Guardiola
Guardiola’s impact at Bayern will never be forgotten and Nagelsmann models himself on the Manchester City boss.
Guardiola is the only other boss Nagelsmann ever leans on. It is understood he sometimes even sends clips of his side’s play to Guardiola, asking for an opinion.
Nagelsmann is completely confident in his methods and style of coaching and his assertiveness has helped him land this job. Nagelsmann will look to use a high-pressing, relentless brand of football that is driven by possession of the ball.
The only way he can truly emulate Guardiola though is to have similar success.
That begins next season - when he will be expected to challenge for every single trophy possible.