After three superb seasons at Olympique Lyonnais, Corentin Tolisso has finally got his move to a European superpower. With links to Juventus throughout the season, his final destination is Munich and Bayern are signing one of the best young midfielders in the world.
But wait, isn’t this a story that the Bavarians have heard before? Last summer’s acquisition of Renato Sanches, who was also heralded as a wunderkind, fell well below expectations. Put those minds to rest, Tolisso is more experienced, more versatile and more likely to hit the ground running.
Best utilised as an attacking midfielder, ‘Coco’ likes to be the focus of attention in the final third. Able to run with good close ball control, play in a lovely pass in behind the defence or arrive late in the box to score himself, the Frenchman has a little bit of everything in terms of going forward.
That’s also not to say he’s not against doing some dirty work either. He’s willing to get stuck in and has shown discipline when asked to play a more reserved role, which he could again be called upon to do at the Allianz Arena should an injury crisis strike.
A quick tip to Carlo Ancelotti, he can even play at right-back if absolutely necessary.
The €41.5m price tag, plus the potential of 6m in add-ons, isn’t a steep price to pay for quality. Three full seasons in Ligue 1, a few excursions in Europe in both competitions and a clear stat line of 14 goals and seven assists in all competitions and you know that money is buying established quality, even if he’s still 22.
So where does he fit into the Bayern puzzle? With the retirement of Xabi Alonso, it simply depends on what kind of team that Ancelotti wants to play on any given night. Is it a game where they can be more attack-minded? Or do they need to control it a little more and dominate possession? Tolisso’s flexibility helps in both scenarios.
In a more offensive 4-2-3-1, should they play Thiago as a deep-lying playmaker, Tolisso can fill the hole behind the striker to both add creativity but also goal scoring that the Spaniard has struggled for in the past. If it’s a little more defensive, he can play a similar role to Arturo Vidal or cover the defensive midfield option if needs come to must.
However, looking at Bayern Munich at this moment in time, he’s not a guaranteed starter. Sebastian Rudy, signed from Hoffenheim, will likely replace Alonso as the ball winner in midfield and it’s hard to see him knocking either Vidal or Thiago to the sidelines any time soon.
Saying that, he’s superb competition for anyone dropping their form and gives them much more depth to fight on more fronts. The fact that he also covers so many bases in the middle of the park is a huge plus both for his chances of eventually nailing down a starting spot and for his continued development as a player.
Could a move to Italy been a better choice for him? It’s tough to say. He might have had a slightly easier path to the starting line-up in Turin but the allure of the Bundesliga giants is difficult for many to turn down, along with the challenge of mixing it with the very best and the Franco base they already have at Sabnerstraße.
Like a few other big names currently at the Parc OL, this is finally the step up that Tolisso has probably been angling for at least 18 months. Now the move has happened, it’s time for him to make the next step in his career, which already looks like a tough task but one he needs to relish.
Coco broke through the first team in Lyon, broke into the national set-up with France and his next mountain is to be the next Frenchman beloved by Bavaria. With the toolkit he has, the endeavour and the quality he has shown, there should be little doubt that he could be drinking out of steins at Oktoberfest for years to come.
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