Now that it has been confirmed that former Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara will be moving to Bayern Munich in a deal worth between 20-25 million Euros, Bayern Munich now face a big issue.
The issue is that they now will have nine midfielders on the first team squad and given the tactical formation(s) that new coach Pep Guardiola will deploy and as a result, this means several midfielders will see a reduced role.
Part of why Guardiola was so insistent on bringing in Thiago Alcantara is that he knows what Thiago will bring and where he can slot him in the Bayern midfield. Thiago Alcantara is an attacking midfielder and while he may not be like an Isco, a player who is headed to Real Madrid and can play along the wings and center, Thiago does his best work in two positions.
Where Thiago Alcantara will play in the Bayern Munich midfield is he will play in the Xavi Hernandez role, meaning the advanced playmaking midfield role or right behind the striker(s) in much the way a Francesco Totti does and plays. Given that Guardiola will play either a 4-3-3 formation or a 4-1-4-1 formation (any notions he has ever played a 4-2-3-1 clearly never closely watched any Barcelona match he coached) he should fit in well.
While it could be said with some certainty that Thiago Alcantara will be playing on a regular basis, this now throws up the question of who amongst the other eight midfielders will not play and or see their role and position on the field changed as a result. Immediately, there are three potential changes and modifications that come to mind.
One positional change which we could see is Guardiola move a holding midfielder back into defense and making him play as a central defender. Amongst the midfield crop, there is one player who has played as a central defender and could make the switch and that is Javi Martinez.
The Martinez to central defender modification makes much sense given that Guardiola likes to only play with one holding midfielder type, as he did in his time at Barcelona with Sergio Busquets. Unlike Javier Mascherano, who had never played as a central defender before Guardiola moved him to that position, Martinez has played as a central defender and has done so well.
Another off-shoot of only playing with one holding midfielder will be that it is likely a player like Luiz Gustavo, who showed himself to be a valuable contributor during the treble season, might get less playing time. Another player who might get less playing time is young winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who with the return of Toni Kroos and addition of Mario Goezte, will see even less time on the field. This is of course assuming no one gets seriously hurt.
Those are just a few of the potential changes and modifications, which we can expect to see with the Bayern Munich midfield with Pep Guardiola now coaching and the arrival of Thiago Alcantara. While we can make a few assumptions about who plays and who gets moved, we will have to wait until the team plays competitive games in order to know who loses playing time amongst Bayern Munich midfielders.