Why Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich is the perfect player for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, no matter where he plays


To the surprise of many, reports in the German press earlier this week claim that Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has grown frustrated at the club and will look to leave this summer.

The 22-year-old is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in Germany and a reported target for Manchester City and Atlético Madrid, while former cub RB Leipzig are said to be interested in taking the youngster back to the Red Bull Arena.

Bayern have moved quickly to quash the rumours, releasing an official statement, claiming “The report is simply false. There is no truth in this story,” also threatening to take legal action against its publishers.

However, Kimmich has voiced his frustration at the lack of game time he has received under Carlo Ancelotti this season, admitting as recently as March: “The fact is I’m not satisfied with it and I want to change it. The coach knows I can play as a No.6 and at right back, also in the centre of defence.”

If there is any chance at all that Kimmich can be whisked away from the Allianz Arena at the end of the season, City boss Pep Guardiola will be readying a move for the player he came to greatly admire during their time together in Bavaria.

“He's got everything," the Catalan tactician said of the 13-cap German international. "He can do everything and he gives everything. He's capable of defending against any player in the world.”

Kimmich, although a central midfielder by trade, was deployed at centre-back by Guardiola last season, regularly lines up at right-back for Germany and can play in defensive and attacking midfield roles.

The Rottwell-born prodigy’s flawless technique, impressive understanding of the game and readiness to learn new tasks have made him capable of competing at the highest level in any of these positions. For Guardiola, Kimmich could be just the man to help bring his philosophy to life at the Etihad Stadium, regardless of where he plays.

City’s full-back struggles have been well-documented this term, with the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna, Gaël Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov unable to fulfil the duties Guardiola ordinarily demands of his wide defenders.

That wouldn’t be the case with Kimmich. The young Bayern prospect would be able to move into the kind of central attacking positions that David Alaba and Dani Alves used to operate in for Guardiola’s previous sides.

If Guardiola wanted a calm, collected ball-playing centre-back to add some much-needed quality and solidity to his backline, Kimmich could do that too, just as he did when the two worked together at Bayern. Although he lacks the physical size usually associated with central defenders, standing a little over 5ft 9ins, the German reads the game impeccably and is able to instigate attacks from deep with his excellent forward passing and vision.

Kimmich would also be able to play as one of the “False No.8s” is the fluid 4-3-3/4-1-4-1 that City have used regularly this season. His run of eight goals from 11 appearances for Bayern and Germany earlier this season showed that, when the reins are loosened slightly, the 22-year-old can become a serious goals threat.

Perhaps the position in which Kimmich would be of most benefit to Guardiola and the way he wants his City team to play, however, is as a defensive midfielder.

The deepest central midfielder in Guardiola’s teams have traditionally been much more than a simple destroyer, tasked with breaking up play and handing over possession to more gifted team-mates. Rather, they are deep-lying playmakers who combine their defensive duties with constructing attacking moves, always being available to receive the ball, and intelligently manoeuvring their colleagues around the pitch.

At Barcelona, it was Sergio Busquets; at Bayern, it was Xabi Alonso; at City, it could be Kimmich.



As things stand, City’s options for the role of midfield pivot are somewhat limited: Fernandinho is athletic and technically sound, but perhaps lacking the quality and vision to execute to the level Guardiola would expect; Yaya Touré’s powers are waning; and İlkay Gündoğan is an exceptional talent but can’t be relied upon due to his injury troubles.

In his 26 Bundesliga outings this season, Kimmich has averaged a pass completion rate of 89.8 per cent – better than any City midfielder to have made more than 10 appearances. He has also averaged more passes per 90 minutes (81.8) than any of the Citizens’ regular midfielders other than Touré (83.3), showing his willingness to get on the ball and conduct play.

City will undoubtedly spend big again this summer as Guardiola seeks to further shape the team in his image. Signing Joshua Kimmich would go a long way towards achieving just that.