Some of Europe’s top teams have one thing in common — a lot of talented midfield players who will not get the playing time they deserve. Bayern Munich, for example, have 13 midfielders to choose from in their first team squad yet they only have two forwards. Even if they play a 4-2-3-1 system, it’s still a lot of players to keep satisfied.
The two defensive players that will sit in front of the back four are most likely going to be Javi Martinez and Bastien Schweinsteiger; Both are excellent in this position and can dominate the opposition before the defense has to deal with it. In the attack, the three behind the forward will most likely be Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Mario Gotze. This leaves Thiago Alcantara, Thomas Muller, Xherdan Shaqiri, Mitchell Weiser, Luiz Gustavo, Pierre Hojbjerg, Emre Can and Toni Kroos unable to play and sitting on the bench. The manager knows best and will rotate the team when his first 11 are fit. Some of the midfielders can play in multiple positions and this will come in handy when the fixtures mount up. Asking a top International player to not play in his favored and most productive position, however, can be detrimental. The wages of some of these players will be questioned by the board as they will want to know why the player who is earning half a million a week is sat on the bench. Having talented players throughout the team is a tried and tested approach but it has also seen many teams suffer because of it. Talented players need games otherwise they tend to strop and moan so the performances go down and so too does the harmony at the club.
Manchester City may get you the best value on Betfair.com to win the Premier League title in 2013/14, but they’re also another example of having too many similar players. Jesus Navas, Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Stevan Jovetic, Luca Scapuzzi and Samir Nasri are all the same player in the role behind the forward while Yaya Toure, James Milner, Fernandinho, Gareth Barry, Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell are the same player in the two defensive roles in a 4-2-3-1 system. All these players are the same in each position. Some of the players can play in multiple positions. But again, asking the player to come out of his comfort zone is a huge risk. City will need to be like (dare I say it) Manchester United as United keep a level of consistency within their squad and buy players that will suit the marquee signings. Manchester City could be a dominant force in Europe if they bought only one marquee signing a season. This would give the other squad members more of the spotlight and the marquee signing would have the chance to shine.
Real Madrid also has the same old problem of having so many players but leaving the younger generation to rot. Pedro Leon, Esteban Granero and Sergio Canales found life at Real difficult and found they couldn’t break into the first team. Isco, Casemiro and Asier Illarramendi are the next crop that will try to force their way into the team even though they came with a huge transfer fee. Real Madrid can call upon Sami Khedira, Kaka, Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo who are already at the club. Isco, Casemiro and Illarramendi will be seen as long term replacements for Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira and Kaka but Canales, Leon and Granero had been seen as long term Real Madrid players when they arrived at the club.
Having a big squad and especially midfielders is something teams need to be aware of as when those players leave they find clubs as big as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Bayern Munich. They often shine elsewhere because they have something to prove.