At 26 years of age, Bayern Munich’s French international star, Benjamin Pavard, is coming to his peak years as a footballer, but both Man United and Chelsea should tread carefully when considering signing him according to Jonathan Johnson.
Writing exclusively in his column for CaughtOffside, full details of which will be available on Friday in the CaughtOffside Substack, Johnson raised a few red flags where the defender was concerned.
The Sun noted the interest of La Liga giants, Barcelona, as well as that of the Red Devils and the Blues, but in light of Johnson’s stark admission, all three would do well to think again.
“Benjamin Pavard is facing an uncertain few months. I don’t think he’s extended his contract with Bayern and so he’s potentially a free agent in 2024,” he wrote.
“He’s had problems off the pitch as well with a recent drink driving, which won’t have pleased his superiors at Bayern.
“I think Pavard is potentially of interest to some top clubs this summer, if he decides he doesn’t want to renew with Bayern.”
Despite his off-field issues, there’s also a question mark about just how good a player he really is.
In order to play for some of Europe’s top clubs, Pavard has to have attained a certain level it’s true, but whether he can justifiably be called an elite-level defender, Johnson isn’t sure.
“He’s a talented player on his day, and a versatile option as well as he can play right-back or centre-back, but I think there are some doubts about his level as an elite defender,” he added.
“We saw him sent off in the game against PSG recently, and he was cast out of France’s World Cup squad after a disappointing opening performance, and there have started to be more and more question marks about his mentality and character of late.
“[…} Some top clubs will surely look at him and think he’s a reasonable option.
“There were some doubts raised about him during the World Cup, and there are perhaps questions to be asked about his mentality since he won the tournament in 2018.
“[…] It might now be time for Didier Deschamps to offer an explanation about whether or not Pavard features in his plans moving forward, and why. But it’s not just limited to the national team, there have been a number of run-ins with the Bayern hierarchy in recent months as well.
“I think clearly he’s someone who has to be handled carefully, so any interested clubs will have to do a lot of intel work on him before trying to sign him.”
With only a year left on his contract this summer, it would be remiss of Bayern to not test the transfer waters at the very least.
Perhaps with the knowledge they’ve gained about the player since he signed on in Bavaria, they’ll be keen to do more than that.
The question remains as to whether there’ll be any other top clubs willing to take a chance on a player that may have already seen better days.