Despite being just 17 years old, Bayern Munich’s new signing, Alphonso Davies has been well known to those in MLS for a good few years having made his Vancouver Whitecaps debut aged 15.

The Caps haven’t had the best 2018 so far but he has definitely been the jewel in their crown. With the deal being confirmed yesterday, here’s what MLS fans have become familiar with over the past couple of years when it comes to Davies.

Versatility

Davies’ development in MLS has been nothing short of impressive and one of the reasons for that has been his versatility.

Naturally left-footed, he can usually be found playing as a left winger, which is where he’s grabbed many headlines, however, he’s also a very accomplished left back/left wing back. This season alone, in eight of the 20 games he has appeared at either left back/left wing back.

He’s also had a few decent games playing on the right wing for the Caps. His most notable moment, off the right, came in his last Caps game against D.C. United where he showed great trickery to free himself of three markers and then bend the ball into the top corner.

However, you can see where most of his damage is done from the heat map below:

Heat map sourced from Wyscout.com

Close Control, Balance & Decision Making

One of the things that first catch your eye when watching Alphonso Davies is his dribbling. At just 17, its almost surprising to see how easy it is for him to glide past seasoned players but it’s also exceptional in the way he does it, and his quality after going past players.

Yes, he may be brought in as a left-sided player, but one thing that could help Davies immensely is how comfortable he is taking on defenders either on the inside or outside as seen below:

Here he receives the ball on the right touchline, draws in the defender and pops infield.
Rather than be predictable and cut in yet again on his left foot, his confidence to go on the outside pays off as not only is he good enough to do it, but the defender is left behind having not expected Davies to do that.
Now in behind the defence, this is all about Davies’ final ball. Under pressure and on his weaker foot, he still manages to stay composed enough to find the right pass which results in a shot at goal. A shot that should have been scored in all honesty.

This unpredictable aspect of his game could be a key into breaking in at Bayern over the next few seasons as this is something that not all their wingers possess. Showing great balance and decision making in first-team football shows not just that good enough for European football, but also that he will be confident enough in his own abilities to shine in European football.

Davies doesn’t just offer this in attack, however, as he’s also a very accomplished crosser of the ball as seen in the partnership he’s created with Kei Kamara this season.

Defensive Contribution

As aforementioned, Davies doesn’t just offer an attacking threat but also a decent defensive contribution. Making Vancouver’s left flank his own over the past two years, his experience further back could also help him slot into the Bayern team over the next few seasons.

However, it’s not just the fact that he can put in a defensive shift, but also the manner he does this in. In the below images Davies is playing as a left wing-back.

Here, Davies as tracked the attacker well and managed to time and weight his tackle perfectly. By doing this he was then able to shield the ball from going out of play and stay in control of the situation.
Having won the duel with the New England player, rather than get excited, he understands the situation he’s in and plays the ball that’ll keep Vancouver in possession.

It may seem simple, but this type of precision in the tackle and calmness after could be what attracted Bayern to Davies when looking deeper than just his amazing highlights going forward. Totally confident in himself, taking a second to process where he is and play the safe pass can help his team have a breather, get into shape or keep the opposition running.

It’s also important to note that since his debut two years ago, he’s grown into his body well which could be seen in the way he held off the New England player on the touchline.

Summary

Overall, I feel this is a very encouraging signing for both parties. For Bayern, they’re getting a player who should shine once he’s taken the next step of his career and could be one of theirs for years to come.

For Davies, it’s very clear that he’s ready for a move away from the MLS, whether he’s ready for Bayern at this minute, however, is yet to be seen. With the likes of Franck Ribery, Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben and Serge Gnabry already at Bayern, I wouldn’t be surprised if in his first season or two he was loaned out to another Bundesliga club. Even if that is the case, however, the move would still be a positive one as he’ll get the chance to showcase his talent at a higher level regardless.

The future definitely looks bright for a young man, who if you know his story off the pitch as well as on it, has not lived the regular life of a 17-year-old.