Bouna Sarr may have struggled for playing time at Bayern Munich this season, but thanks to an impressive Africa Cup of Nations, he returns to the Allianz Arena with a trophy and plenty of food for thought for Julian Nagelsmann.
The 30-year-old was an ever-present for Senegal as they lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, playing every minute of their successful campaign and earning plenty of plaudits along the way.
"I'm going to use this tournament to show what I am capable of," Sarr told L'Equipe before the competition began, and he followed up those words with actions, which he will hope have also been registered back in Bavaria.
Benjamin Pavard may be Nagelsmann's first-choice right full-back, starting 13 of the 16 Bundesliga games he has been fit and available for, including the last ten in a row, but with Joshua Kimmich forced to revert back to his former position as cover when injuries struck recently, Sarr's impressive form in Africa will certainly be welcome news.
Pavard has also been deployed in a back three for their past four Bundesliga fixtures, but Nagelsmann now knows that if he wishes to revert to a back four, Sarr is as good an option as any on the right, especially given his attacking roots.
Watch: Africa Cup Of Nations: Final Review
In fact, Sarr was a right winger during his Metz days and it was only under Rudi Garcia at Marseille that he reverted to the full-back roll, echoing the switch Alphonso Davies underwent on the left-hand side for Bayern and Canada. Although now established as a defender, his versatility saw Senegal coach Aliou Cisse field him on the right-hand side of midfield for their first two Africa Cup of Nations fixtures against Zimbabwe and Guinea, and his support down the flank was one of the keys to Senegal's success.
He delivered more crosses (61) than any other player throughout the whole tournament, without neglecting his defensive duties as he ranked 11th for tackles won (eight) that led to Senegal regaining possession.
"I'm pleased to see Sarr playing for Senegal," Nagelsmann said. "He needs the minutes to get into some kind of a rhythm and it's good for him. We'll see how he is when he gets back, and if he can get more of a game than he has so far with Bayern."
With 660 minutes under his belt, and a winner's medal in his suitcase, Sarr returns to Munich ready to kick on and make his case for a bigger bite of the Bundesliga cherry. And with the UEFA Champions League imminently entering its decisive phase too, having an extra option can only be good news for Nagelsmann and the record champions' bid for more silverware.
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