Bayern Munich have long been known for hoarding the best German and Bundesliga-based talent, but when looking further afield, they often have to be more shrewd with their business.
For as historic a club Bayern are, they operate carefully in the transfer market aside from the occasional galactico signing – and even those have burned them in recent history.
Spending £35million on Sadio Mane in 2022 and handing him a mammoth contract for three years, only to sell him a year later for £24million appears to have made them more wary in the winger market.
Spending the bulk of their transfer kitty on Harry Kane in the summer of 2023 has so far proven dividends. The Englishman is taking the proverbial and quite literally scoring for fun as everybody predicted, while decimating Robert Lewandowski’s legacy one goal at a time.
But those goals won’t last forever – no matter how much Kane seems to be determined to defy science – and Bayern must look towards sculpting their future front line.
The best clubs stay ahead of the curve, and Die Roten are absolutely trying to do that by agreeing to sign Bryan Zaragoza from Granada, a deal effective from July 2024 according to Fabrizio Romano.
For those unaware, Zaragoza might just be the most lethal 22-year-old footballer you’ve never heard of. And he’s got the frosted tips to certify that.
Born in Malaga in 2001, the Spanish winger is breaking the mould by breaking through at an appropriate age instead of not being old enough to drive a car while playing elite level senior football.
That has immediately earned him our respect, merely for making us feel slightly less old and useless, but so have his mesmerisingly quick feet and his eye for a killer ball or strike when given even half a glimpse of goal.
Blessed with a wicked right foot, agility that makes your joints hurt from just watching him, and razor-sharp speed that sees him blast through gaps in a defence like a Raygun, Zaragoza feels perfectly suited to the Bundesliga.
We can see him tearing up the yards of pitch in front of him before scoring or assisting worldies in front of a packed-out Allianz Arena.
Crucially, he passes the eye test with flying colours.
Bryan Zaragoza – Welcome to Bayernpic.twitter.com/9PSS4A6EI6
— ✍🏼 (@MunichComps) December 6, 2023
It’s hard not to watch him shimmying his way into space and wriggling through defenders before cutting inside or poking the ball through without being reminded of Franck Ribery.
Shades of the Frenchman are apparent in his game, from the balance and agility to the awareness to thread the ball into the right areas.
With seven goal contributions in 14 La Liga games this season, allowing Zaragoza to spend the rest of the season at Granada – who he left his hometown side Conejito Malaga to join in 2019 – is the ideal next step in his development and allows him to strut his exceptionally dizzying stuff knowing he’s got it all to come.
Breaking through while Granada spent the 2022-23 campaign in the second tier, the 22-year-old thrived under the pressure of delivering them an immediate return to La Liga; a sign of his character.
Predominantly a left winger, Bayern sporting director Christoph Freund told their website: “Bryan is an explosive, very quick and extremely nimble winger, who can play on either side. He’s unpredictable, can score and is very good one-v-one.”
The German giants have huge plans for the Spaniard. Expect him to smoke up the chalk on a Champions League touchline imminently.
By Mitch Wilks