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Recently signed by German giants Bayern Munich on loan for a fee of £6million with the option to buy for £19million next summer, Kingsley Coman is clearly a player on the rise. His time at Juventus was relatively short, just a year spent in Turin. However, Coman really showed signs that he could develop into a world-class talent if nurtured properly in his key development years, the next 3 or 4 years. Coman obviously felt that his development years would be best spent away from Juventus, hence the move to Bayern. Coman was quoted saying “I’ve always dream of joining a really big club like Bayern”, this is perhaps slightly disrespectful to Juve, the club who helped Coman develop into a far better player than he was prior to his move to Turin.
At 16 years and 8 days, Kingsley Coman debuted for Paris Saint-Germain in a league match against Sochaux, coming as a substitute for Marco Verratti,this making him PSG’s youngest-ever player, a record Coman still holds today. Coman joined the PSG youth academy at the age of eight and progressed nicely through the ranks, even representing France at all youth levels right up until the U21’s, where he played a 17 year-old. As the years went by, Coman took another step closer to PSG’s first team but sadly, the opportunity never came. Although Coman was yet to feature regularly for the first team,neither as a starter or substitute, at the age of 18, it still came as a surprise that PSG were willing to let his contract expire. Many big European clubs showed an interest in the Frenchman, such as Arsenal, Bayern, Liverpool and both of the Milan clubs, but in the end Coman signed a 5 year contract with Juventus.
The early signs looked bright for Coman, he started Juve’s opening two Serie A matches and looked very much to be a key part of Allegri’s plans. But after this, Coman drifted in and out of the first team, mostly limited to appearances off the bench.
Following a season of mixed success, Bayern grew interested in the player and eventually, this interest mounted into a concrete offer, of £6million for an initial loan and then a future fee of £19million. Juventus accepted and the move was completed, Coman was to be a Bayern player.
During his time at PSG and Juve, Coman was primarily used as a number 10 but Juve did also use him up front on a few occasions, whereas PSG used him as a winger a couple of times but Coman’s main position is currently as a number 10.
However, Coman doesn’t have the attributes normally paired with a number 10. He is an explosive, very atheltic player who relies very heavily on his physical attributes rather than technical. When playing as a striker Coman can use his body very well, he can play with his back to goal and hold the ball up well using his imposing figure. The first thing many notice when watching Coman is his wonderful first touch. Passes can be fired at almost any height, angle or power and Coman will control it. He is very good at latching onto high balls over the top of defences due to his pace and first touch. Another part of Coman’s game which is strong is obviously his physical attributes. Coman is very quick off the mark, his acceleration is excellent and once he gets past his man, they will rarely catch him. For someone who is 5 feet 11 inches tall, Coman is really agile and turns quickly, his movement style has been compared to Karim Bellarabi’s.
An underrated aspect of his game is his workrate defensively. For someone of just 19 years of age with little first team experience, Coman is very disciplined when his team is defending and is prepared to work his socks off to win the ball back for his team, or he can maintain his position in a solid shape and play his part in preventing opposition attacks. Coman’s shooting from long range is also very powerful, a weapon he often uses against unsuspecting opposition goalkeepers.
With these strengths obviously come some weaknesses. One of these is that Coman really struggles against teams playing very compact, he isn’t really a ‘needle player’ who operates well in tight areas, he needs a bit more time and space on the ball to show off his skill set. This proves that at times Coman does rely too heavily on his physical attributes rather than allowing his also good technical attributes to shine through and help unlock tight defences. In attack Coman often wants to play the diffuclt pass too often, he lacks a bit of patience and always tends to go forwards rather than helping his team circulate and move the opposition to open up space.
Following Coman’s arrival at the Allianz Arena, speculation has aroused that this may be Franck Ribery’s last season at Bayern and that Coman is ultimately his replacement. These rumours may be true, if you look at Ribery’s injury history at Bayern, it shows that he isn’t a player who has managed to play lots and lots of minutes and this is purely down to injuries. Guardiola has obviously been a fan of Coman for some time now, he was one of the first managers looking to swoop in on Coman when his contract at PSG expired, last summer Coman chose Juventus but this time, Guardiola has got his chance with his man, and Coman will be his player.
Bayern have a whole host of central midfielders at their disposal, some would argue they have too many, this will probably mean that Coman has been signed to play as a winger rather in a number 10 role, a position Bayern have plenty of options in. This suits Coman though, as Bayern play a game centred around verticality and his pace could be utilised well on the wing, helping Bayern transition simple possession into a dangerous attack. With a recent injury to Arjen Robben and Ribery still forced to the sidelines, we may see more of Coman earlier than expected, although with Douglas Costa’s excellent form on the left wing we are unlikely to see Coman taking over that position. This could mean Coman plays in one of Pep’s innovative roles, perhaps starting in the number 10 position alongside Muller with them taking turns to make movements towards the right wing.
The long term situation though, is different. Coman may find himself used more as a rotation player for a couple of seasons, then following this he is likely to take over from the man the he has apparently been signed to replace, Franck Ribery. Douglas Costa will probably switch flanks and rotate with Robben, who will likely be in decline by this point and still struggling with injuries. This leaves Coman on the left, and he will be first choice left winger with Ribery either sold or getting the odd game when fit.
Coman certainly looks to be a suitable replacement for Ribery, especially with Guardiola at the helm. Guardiola’s recent style of play has been based more around verticality rather than lots of short, horizontal passes. This quick transition into attack is very suited to Coman’s game, it allows him to run at a bare defence, utilising his explosive pace and strength to cause havoc for the opposition. Guardiola values every player’s technical attributes hugely and if Coman wishes to become a star player for a Guardiola team, he must improve on these. He has good help though, one of Europe’s top technical coaches who loves working with young talents, is there a better man for the job? I don’t think so.
Written by Ross Eaton