Scouting Report: Kingsley Coman

Steffen Separator August 29, 2015

This weekend will show if that deal is going to take place or not. We have scouted the player intensely ever since the first credible rumors appeared, in order to get an idea of him. In our opinion, Bayern can look forward to signing the highly talented allrounder.

His career so far

At the age of eight, Kingsley Coman was discovered by Paris Saint-Germain. At the PSG youth academy, he developed further and represented France at the youth level from the U16 onwards. On February 17, 2013, he became the youngest player to play for PSG’s first team when, aged 16, he was brought on for Marco Verratti in a league match against Sochaux. Coman made it to the French U21 as a 17-year-old, once again proving what an outstanding talent he is.

Even though he didn’t manage to make the breakthrough in Paris, a large number of clubs showed their interest when his contract expired in 2014. As Coman himself told L’Equipe, among those interested were Liverpool, Arsenal, Leverkusen, Bordeaux and even Bayern. In the end, he decided to sign a five-year contract with Juventus. In his first season in Italy, Coman had 14 appearances in the Serie A and another 2 in the Champions League, mostly as a sub. Furthermore, he was a part of Juventus’ squad for the Champions League final against Barcelona.

It comes as a bit of a surprise that the Bianconeri are willing to let him go now, as Coman was in their starting lineup in both of the first two matches of the new season. There, he played up front next to former Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic. Despite the comfort of having two fellow countrymen beside him in Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra, he decided to leave the club.

For Bayern, the driving force and decisive factor behind this surely was technical director Michael Reschke, whose wide network and great knowledge of European football make him a valuable asset. Recently, Reschke and his crew had a chance to scout Coman at the U19 Euros in Greece, where France reached the semis.

Strengths and weaknesses

The first thing that caught our eye is that Kingsley Coman is, as opposed to other players linked with Bayern, not just a wing dribbler. The Frenchman, 1.78m tall, is an offensive allrounder, both in terms of abilities and positioning. He can play on either wing as well as in the role of a second striker up front, like he did most recently.

When watching him play, you immediately notice how athletic and almost forceful the 19-year-old is, especially for his age. Coman is explosive, useful in the air and capable of playing with his back to the goal. He is a courageous, albeit not creative dribbler who offers a remarkable top speed. Once he’s past his opponent, it’s almost impossible to catch up. Not afraid of creativity around the box, Coman often attempts to play challenging passes (that obviously don’t always work out) and also possesses a powerful shot. He covers a large area in attack – his activity is summed up well by his stats against Udinese: 3 shots, 3 key passes, 3 fouls suffered in key areas, all in 65 minutes.

An underrated aspect is his defensive work rate. Coman is not a lazy player who cherry-picks, he is fully involved at all times and in both directions. He understands how to use his body in tackles and has a pressing movement that’s similar to Karim Bellarabi. Actually, Bellarabi is a good comparison in general, as both impress with very effective but not exactly textbook movement.

Coman’s weaknesses are just as obvious. Some of them are typical for a player of his age. His decision making is far from perfect; at times he’s a bit too complicated or hasty and headless. Furthermore, his accuracy leaves a bit to be desired, both offensively and defensively. Coman relies too much on his speed and agility, something that veterans like to take advantage of. The 19-year-old’s weakest moments take place when he becomes impatient and tries to force his way through a settled defense instead of playing the obvious pass. His combination play could be a bit more direct and fast. All in all, Coman often fails to turn his actions into tangible rewards. A mere two assists in the Serie A just aren’t enough when you consider how many promising attacks he was involved in.

Potential role at Bayern

Signing Coman would suggest that the headache that is Franck Ribery’s long-term injury won’t go away. The loan deal would give him an opportunity to prove himself. Unlike Douglas Costa, he wouldn’t become an immediate part of the starting lineup. In fact, his high-energy style would make him an ideal sub. Furthermore, he’d be a valuable backup for Arjen Robben and another option up front, allowing Mario Götze to finally focus on central midfield.

Coman would be a long-term project. The plan is to slowly turn him into one of the successors of Robben and Ribery, the dominant players of the last decade. This is demonstrated by the relatively high fee that Bayern are willing to pay if they decide to turn it into a permanent deal. The apparent loan deal makes this a low-risk move. If Coman turns out to be overwhelmed by the level of play, there’d be the option to withdraw next summer.

It’s obvious that Bayern aren’t afraid of a big squad, adding further quality to the team. This is a reminder to the players that they all need to get used to increased squad rotation. Everybody has to give it everything, otherwise there are enough alternatives available at every position. Coman would be another alternative. If he shows the same intensity as he did over the last few months, he can only add to the motivation of the established players.

*Update I, 29th August 22:15pm CET*

Sporting Director Matthias Sammer didn’t confirm the signing of Coman after the Bundesliga match against Bayer Leverkusen. But rather ambiguously he said: “watch and wait”

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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