Ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season, Atletico Madrid are facing a real shortage at the right-back position. Both Kieran Trippier and Šime Vrsaljko have departed this year for Newcastle United and Olympiacos, respectively. The Colombian, Santiago Arias, is the only recognized right-back at the club. In the last few weeks, there have been reports from the Spanish media claiming that Los Rojiblancos have registered interest in France and Bayern Munich defender, Benjamin Pavard. The defender’s contract with the Bavarians expires in June 2024.
Pavard appeared in 36 games for Bayern Munich in all competitions last season, including all ten in the UEFA Champions League. He just had one assist, but it was more than enough to surpass his xA. The Frenchman’s passing was quite reliable, with 74 pass attempts per 90 and a near 90% pass accuracy. When it came to progressing the ball, he was just as excellent, if not better, as he completed just under 86% of his balls into the final third out of 11.7 attempts per 90. He averaged 2.65 crosses per 90 minutes, placing him in the top quartile of defenders.
Pavard won more than 81% of his defensive actions but tried just over 10% of them. Similarly, his defensive duels success percentage was above average, but the defensive duels per 90 were below in the bottom third. The Frenchman won 63.6% of his aerial duels by using his height of 186 cm to his advantage. He won precisely three-fifths of the loose ball contests he fought. He showed his ability to press further up the field with 3.09 recoveries per 90 in the opponent’s half.
Unsurprisingly, as a right-back, Pavard was fully involved on the entire right wing. He tracked back to close down opposing wingers and made overlapping runs from deep into the final third and provided crosses into the penalty box. He attempted 10.8 pressures per 90 (of which 3.18 were successful), 4.47 tackles & interceptions per 90, 2.24 clearances per 90, and 1.53 blocks per 90.
Pavard’s passing was reliable for Die Roten, as nearly 90% of his passes found a teammate. He completed 6.59 progressive passes per 90, 7.88 passes into the final third per 90, 6.59 progressive carries per 90, and 1.53 carries into the attacking third per 90 with the ball at his feet.
Benjamin Pavard has had three successful seasons at the Allianz Arena, where he helped the team achieve the treble in 2019-20. But with the arrival of Noussair Mazraoui from Ajax and more recently, Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, the World Cup winner’s future at Bayern Munich is up in the air. Atletico Madrid should use this opportunity and bid for the services of the Frenchman. His versatility could see him play at right-back as well as at centre-back. But Los Colchoneros will have to compete with Chelsea if they are to bring in the 26-year-old.