28th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Although leaving Olympique Lyonnais would've been a tough call to make after spending 10 years at the club, Corentin Tolisso knew the time was right to embark on the next chapter in his career
For Tolisso, who was close to joining Napoli a year ago, his decision to stay at Les Gones for another season was entirely vindicated, for he played a starring role for OL in a season where they reached the semi finals of the Europa League and finished fourth in Ligue 1. In addition, his consistently excellent performances were certainly crucial towards him earning a dream move to Bayern Munich.
"A year ago, all the conditions weren't right. I wasn't ready to leave and I still wanted to play for Olympique Lyonnais. This year, I'm ready to take the big step. I have had a complete season. My individual performances were quite promising and I think I have taken a step up. To take more, I have to leave and discover something new," Tolisso told L'Equipe.
Costing a sizeable Bundesliga record fee of €41.5 million, the man who notched a notable 13 goals and seven assists from central midfield last campaign is also determined to build on his single France cap, and is hoping that joining such a brilliant side as Bayern will elevate his game to another level ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
But before all that, he needs to cement his spot in Carlo Ancelotti's enormously talented midfield, where he'll compete with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Arturo Vidal, Joshua Kimmich, Sebastian Rudy and Renato Sanches. In the wake of the legendary Xabi Alonso's retirement, Ancelotti spoke interestingly on how he believes Tolisso can fill the void left by the Spaniard, insisting: "Tolisso is a really good midfielder in our opinion. He was one of the best midfielders in the market. He is a really complete midfielder, good passing, forward, really well positioned defensively and also in my opinion has a lot of opportunity to improve.
"He's still young, he did well in Lyon, but I think with us he can improve more. He's going to complete our midfield. I think that Tolisso also has a good profile to replace a player like Alonso."
Having his manager place so much faith in him is a great thing for the 22-year-old and will not only give him plenty of confidence but also shows how highly his manager already rates him. So far during preseason, Tolisso's performances have without doubt justified his manager's trust in him, as he's begun very brightly to life with Die Roten.
In Bayern Munich's recent friendly against Chelsea he was especially impressive, putting in a tremendous performance that was littered with upside. Based purely on statistics, his six tackles, two clearances, three interceptions, his tidy assist and the fact he completed 67 passes at a 94% success rate would tell you his output was terrific, but this doesn't tell the whole story. His display was much more important than just purely numbers, with his intelligent movement, that was highlighted by his crafty forward bursts and ability to find space between lines, plus his dropping movement to instigate Bayern's passing phases out from the back, extremely key throughout.
When he pushed back in between his two centre backs, Mats Hummels and Javi Martinez, to help them progress upfield smoothly, he importantly ensured the Bavarians enjoyed a 3v1 numerical advantage vs Michy Batshuayi to bypass the first line with ease.
He complimented the aforementioned suitably with his imaginative and precise passing ability, something that allowed him to add plenty of creativity and incision to his side's passing moves. In addition, his brilliant first touch, control and dribbling combined to see him act as a very press resistant customer for Chelsea to deal with.
Full of energy, intensity and determination, Tolisso contributed whole heartedly on the defensive end too. His positional sense notably transferred over effectively here, as he blocked passing routes smartly and made excellent shifting and supporting movements to ensure Bayern's structural stability.
Even though it's still early days for Tolisso at Bayern, the early signs are unquestionably positive that he'll grow into a crucial player within Ancelotti's talent laden squad. If he can justify that, then he'll be absolutely certain he chose the right club to join following a fruitful decade with his beloved Lyon.
Corentin Tolisso: Making a great impression after moving to Bayern Munich
28th July 2017. By Edward Stratmann.