Franck Ribery may have received the accolade of the best player in Europe, but he is not the only midfielder that has been vital to Bayern Munich in the last 12 months on their run to treble glory.
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s all-round midfield work needs commending and the early signs are that he could be the most vital to Pep Guardiola.
Schweinsteiger is one of only three players to have started all four of Bayern’s Bundesliga fixtures so far and has clearly been identified as the leading option to play in a single-pivot ahead of the back-four, where clubs have typically played with two deeper midfield sitters in recent years.
Meanwhile, an often forgotten link in the Bayern midfield is Toni Kroos, who may not get the plaudits of some of his more recognised rivals, but has previously proved just as vital.
Kroos was used mainly as the chief attacking midfielder at Bayern under Jupp Heynckes, where his ability to find space to receive possession and make the most of positional deficiencies of the opposition were critical to their playing style.
He is not guaranteed to hold down the same spot under Pep Guardiola though and now that he is inside the final two years of his Bayern contract, clubs should be monitoring this situation intently.
Manchester United have come under criticism for their lack of midfield acquisitions in the summer transfer window and Kroos looks an ideal signing for the Red Devils, especially if hitting it off with Michael Carrick, who likes to play forward passes into the final third.
Meanwhile, Kroos’ lateral movement would be of use in the wider areas in linking play, where David Moyes likes to get his full-backs into dangerous attacking positions.
Guardiola is surely too tactically astute to allow such an asset to depart, but should Kroos see his playing time limited in the months leading up to the January transfer window, an enquiry into his availability would look a wise move.
His arrival could be the difference between Manchester United winning the Premier League title or not, which can currently be backed at 7/2.
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