Manuel Veth –
With the Bundesliga title almost wrapped up and with Bayern reaching the semifinals of the DFB Pokal on Tuesday night the planning for the new season has begun at the Rekordmeister. With the likes of Rafinha, Arjen Robben and Frank Ribéry having their contracts end at the end of the season Bayern have been looking for replacements at the wing. On Monday the German magazine kicker reported that Bayern have targeted Porto’s 18-year-old wing-back Diogo Dalot.
Born in Braga, the 183cm tall Dalot can play left-back, right-back and has also featured as a right midfielder. A standout star in the UEFA Youth League this season, where he scored two goals and two assists in five games, as well as for FC Porto’s B-side in the Ledman Liga Pro (second division) the wing-back is considered a long-term replacement for Rafinha, who is considering a return to Brazil in the summer.
His ability to play on either side means that Dalot could also back up David Alaba. The caveat, however, is that Dalot has an exit-clause of €20 million, which Bayern are currently unwilling to pay. The decision-makers at the Rekordmeister are presently hesitant when it comes to spending significant sums for fledging Portuguese stars after the experience the club made with Renato Sanches, who was signed for €35 million 18 months ago but is currently struggling to make the most out of a loan move to Swansea City.
Dalot – The exit clause could grow to €60 million
Furthermore, Porto have an option to extend Dalot’s contract, which according to transfermarkt.de would mean that his exit clause would grow from €20 million to €60 million. Hence, why Bayern are interested they would like to pay significantly less than the current exit clause, but with Portuguese clubs known as tough negotiation partners, it would be difficult to imagine that Porto would dramatically lower their demands without need.
Another question is whether Diogo Dalot has the potential to step straight into the Bayern side. Keep in mind the player he would replace would be the highly experienced Rafinha. Although the Brazilian is not the flashiest player in Bayern’s squad, the 32-year-old has the experience of 305 Bundesliga games and 56 Champions League outings. Rafinha would leave big shoes to fill for an 18-year-old Portuguese wing-back, who has not even played for Porto’s senior side yet.
The lack of experience and the high transfer sum are two negatives. But there are also good reasons for Bayern to risk bringing in the Portuguese right-back. Going by his performances at the junior level and the Portuguese second division Dalot is a fast, reliable and dynamic player, who uses his strengths to both shut down offensive wingers but also to break forward when necessary.
Dalot is strong on both ends of the pitch
Diogo Dalot’s goalscoring record in the UEFA Youth League indicates that he is never shy of joining the forward rush with speed being the primary asset for him to both tracks back and forward. Going forward Dalot often overlaps with the attacking wingers, which makes him a perfect player for Bayern when playing against deep sitting Bundesliga sides. Dalot is also surprisingly strong in the air, both to defend, but also to score goals.
There would also be another good off-field reason to sign Diogo Dalot. Jupp Heynckes told the press before Christmas that Renato Sanches would have developed differently if he would have been in charge ahead of the season. Sanches could very well return next summer to get another chance in Munich. Signing another young Portuguese player could benefit both regarding integration.
With this in mind, Bayern should risk the transfer should Porto significantly lower their demands. The Bavarians have recently invested heavily in their youth academy and are now targeting young talent from abroad. With an EU passport, Dalot could, therefore, collect some playing time for the Bayern II side that is playing in the Regionalliga. Furthermore, with Bayern always going deep in all three competitions, there would be enough games against teams from the lower echelons of the Bundesliga standings against whom Dalot could receive playing time.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and social media editor at Bundesliga.com. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.