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Corentin Tolisso – Nagelsmann’s First Casualty?

Corentin Tolisso

Once Bayern Munich’s all-time record signing, Corentin Tolisso currently finds himself out of favour in Bavaria. The midfielder has been plagued with injuries since moving across the border, missing a total of 74 games in the last three seasons. His poor luck with injuries allowed Niko Kovac and then Hansi Flick to establish winning sides without Tolisso. Subsequently, his lack of continued availability has prevented the Frenchman from getting the game-time to force his way back into the side. Now, with just one year remaining on his current deal, Tolisso will have to prove his ability and fitness in order to win a new deal, or, start searching for his next club.

Whilst Tolisso’s injury record would be a concern for any purchasing club, in the time he got on the pitch last season, he proved he is still capable of performing at the highest level. A full breakdown of this can be seen in the Tableau dashboard produced here: https://public.tableau.com/views/CorentinTolisso/Tolisso?:language=en-GB&:display_count=n&:origin=viz_share_link

Starting with playmaking, Tolisso’s short pass completion rate appears low, however, at 88%, this should be no cause for concern. His medium and long passing percentages demonstrate his superb range of passing and whilst passes into the final third, progressive passes and shot-creating actions would be expected to be higher in a team as dominant as Bayern, ranking between the 83rd and 94th percentiles for these places the Frenchman among the best chance creators in Europe. For example, Paul Pogba ranks in a similar range for the same metrics.

Despite ranking poorly for his dribbling ability, Tolisso is a competent ball-carrier, especially in the final third and the penalty area. His high proportion of touches in the attacking penalty area also demonstrates his desire to make late runs into the box from midfield to create overloads in the opposition’s penalty area.

Once arriving in the box, Tolisso takes up great positions, reflected by his incredibly high npxG and has a high volume of shots on target. Whilst his lower number of goals to npxG shows that he could improve on his finishing, the Frenchman is a more than capable goal threat.

On the defensive side of the game, Tolisso only ranks above the 50th percentile for pressures in the final third and blocks. His high volume of pressures in the final third indicates he is suited to a high-pressing game. Other defensive metrics would again be expected to be low due to Bayern’s dominance of German football meaning they are rarely on the back foot in matches.

With Marcel Sabitzer arriving from RB Leipzig, the chance of Tolisso forcing his way into playing contention under Nagelsmann now appears to be slim. Reports during the summer indicated the Bavarians offered Tolisso and cash to Tottenham in a move for Tanguy Ndombele. Furthermore, Roma, West Ham, Manchester United and Arsenal were all linked with moves for the World Cup and Champions League winner. However, with the window now shut and January fast approaching, the French midfielder will soon be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a new club for the 2022/23 season. Therefore, the only chance Bayern now have of recouping some of the €41.50m paid to Lyon would be to tie Tolisso to a new contract or take a cut-price fee to allow him to depart in January.

Our calculations value the midfielder at €26.095m, in spite of his limited amount of first-team football. Therefore, he would be a superb asset for any top European side in need of midfield reinforcements.  

The most likely scenario now appears that the previously linked clubs will re-ignite their interest in January and look to secure Tolisso’s services for the 2022/23 season with a pre-contract deal. Whilst his injury record should be a concern, when he is fit and available, the Frenchman is a proven performer at the highest echelon of the game. He is an elite chance-creator, adept ball-carrier and a deadly goal threat from midfield whilst being capable defensively.

These attributes are epitomised in the highlights package below, taken from Bayern Munich’s Champions League group stage game against PSG in December 2017.

Our calculations value the midfielder at €26.095m, despite his limited amount of first-team football. Therefore, he would be a superb asset for any top European side in need of midfield reinforcements. Based on all of the above, Tolisso would be best deployed alongside a more defensive-minded player in a two-man midfield to give him license to drive forward or in one of the two more advanced positions in a three-man midfield.

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