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The new Robben or Ribery? How Bayern could line up with Hudson-Odoi

12:00 GMT 21/01/2019
Ribery Hudson-Odoi Robben Split
The England youth international does not have a wealth of experience at Chelsea, but still gives the Bavarians plenty of options in the future

When Bayern Munich made their first offer for Callum Hudson-Odoi in early December, the teenage winger had not started a Premier League game for Chelsea.

The Bavarians are currently in a transitionary period, having appointed a young head coach in Niko Kovac to help develop the next generation of superstars at the Allianz Arena as their experienced winners reach the ends of their careers.

They seamlessly replaced club legend Philipp Lahm with Joshua Kimmich, while Xabi Alonso's midfield mantle was taken on by Leon Goretzka. However, the club are still figuring out how best to replace veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who both will leave this summer after winning everything there is to win at the club.

Bayern expect to not only win the Bundesliga every season, but also to compete for the Champions League. As a result, they need to have mutliple options in each position.

Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies will battle for the wide positions next season, but the double exit of Robben and Ribery was the reason they decided to pursue Hudson-Odoi so heavily. Coman and Gnabry are both injury prone, meaning that extra depth on the wings is crucial if Bayern are to challenge in Europe.

Hudson-Odoi has only played a handful of times for Chelsea, but Bayern Munich liked what they saw of him at international level for England as he helped them win the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and finish as runners-up in the European Championship at the same age level. There, he shone alongside Jadon Sancho, who earned a move to Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City as a result.

Bayern have the belief that Hudson-Odoi can replicate Sancho's impact in the Bundesliga, deciding to make the 18-year-old their third most expensive signing ever and make him their next Robben or Ribery. Which player's shoes he will step into is the big question in Munich, with Kovac having many options on how to line up in the future.

Bayern fans have become accustomed to seeing an inverted winger cut in from the outside and shoot with his opposite foot and score. Hudson-Odoi's two Europa League starts for Chelsea were both on the left wing and he could be deployed in this position by Kovac.

Hudson-Odoi's only goal for the Blues was a mirrored Robben-style finish from the left side of the box on his right foot. He would step into Ribery's role for Bayern, battling it out with Coman to be the preferred left winger.

Both Coman and Gnabry have played on the right this season for Bayern Munich, while previous managers have also used Thomas Muller there.

Kovac prefers Muller more centrally in an attacking three in support of Lewandowski, meaning Hudson-Odoi would be an option on the right following Robben's exit from the club.

Fellow teenager Davies primarily played on the left for Vancouver Whitecaps in Major League Soccer, so Hudson-Odoi could play opposite him in a very young wide attack for Bayern.

With Phil Foden and Sancho playing further forward for England's underage sides, Hudson-Odoi was often deployed on the left of a midfield trio. He lined out in this position for the Three Lions as they reached the final of the U17 European Championship, allowing him to help build attacks from deep.

This approach could also see Kimmich moved from right-back into midfield, playing either as the holding midfielder or on the right of a midfield three to allow him to get forward and support the attack.

Summer signing Benjamin Pavard regularly plays at centre-back for Stuttgart, but achieved his greatest success at right-back as he helped France win the 2018 World Cup.

Much of Hudson-Odoi's experience to date has come with Chelsea's U23 side in Premier League 2. Here, he has played in a variety of positions, including in support of the striker.

Kovac previously used a three-at-the-back approach at Eintracht Frankfurt and could decide to bring that to Bayern, with Hudson-Odoi competing with Muller or James Rodriguez - should he remain in Munich - to play just behind Lewandowski.

Once again, Kimmich is deployed further forward to utilise his crossing ability more often, while the midfield trio would be interchangeable depending on the strength of the opposition.