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Alphonso Davies completes historic transfer to Bayern Munich

Jul 14, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps forward Alphonso Davies (67) against D.C. United in the inaugural game played at Audi Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“Alphonso Davies is done.”

The words spoken by Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß upon the club’s arrival to the United States for the International Champions Cup are true.

The Vancouver Whitecaps agreed to sell Davies, their 17-year-old star, to the German giant on Tuesday, sources told Pro Soccer USA. He will make the move this winter and the Whitecaps will receive up to $16 million plus a potential sell-on fee understood to be 15 percent.

The Athletic first broke the news of an imminent transfer last week, though there were some issues to work through in order to finalize the deal.

Hoeneß said Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić, known as Brazzo, will bring Davies to Philadelphia, where the team is preparing for a Wednesday-night friendly against Juventus.

“Did I watch him? No,” Hoeneß said to reporters. “It’s what Brazzo does.”

Nurtured by Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson, Alphonso Davies debuted in Major League Soccer as a 15-year-old in a 2-2 draw against Orlando City in July 2016. After playing 299 minutes across eight games in 2016, Davies saw his playing time increased significantly to 1,053 minutes in 26 games throughout the 2017 season. He then became a regular starter this season. 

So far in 2018, Davies has played 20 games for 1,509 minutes and recorded three goals and six assists. Bulking up significantly in muscle mass during the offseason, Davies has used his physical strength to add another tactical aspect to his game.

Davies is primarily an attacking winger, but at times was used as a wing back by Robinson. As such, Davies has quickly become one of Vancouver’s brightest stars in a season with more downs than ups. 

Davies’ development, in the meantime, was not left unnoticed by major European clubs. Manchester United already invited the teenager to take part in training sessions last winter. But the Whitecaps declined, pointing out they needed Davies with the club to get ready for the upcoming MLS season. 

The Whitecaps were fully aware this could be Davies’ last season at the club. The teenager turns 18 in November, at which point FIFA regulations make it possible for Davies to move to a European club. 

Earlier this year, German journalist Christoph Biermann published a book titled Matchplan. In it, Biermann pointed out that Davies was, statistically, the most likely prospect in the world to become a superstar in the mold of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The book was a major success in Germany and put Davies on the map among clubs in the Bundesliga. 

Bayern, in the meantime, heavily pushed to increase their presence in the North American market. The club already has a cooperation deal with FC Dallas in place and recently signed Dallas talent Chris Richards.

Unlike Richards, who is currently playing for the club’s under-19 outfit, Davies will likely feature in the first team on a more regular basis once he is 18 and has completed the move this winter. The German Bundesliga has a winter break over December and January, a perfect time to see how Davies can fit in and whether he will have to be sent out on loan for further seasoning. 

As for the Whitecaps, the Vancouver-based MLS franchise will now walk away with the largest transfer fee in MLS history. Davies is a home-grown player, which means that the club will receive 100 percent of the fee. $750,000 of the fee can be used as General Allocation Money, and the rest must be used against expenses incurred in relation to existing or new Designated Players. Alternatively, with MLS approval, the money can be used in what represents an investment in the academy or training facilities. 

According to MLS predictions by FiveThirtyEightVancouver currently has an 11 percent chance to make the playoffs. With Davies likely remaining with the club until the end of the season, the Whitecaps will look to use the cash injection to rebuild next winter ahead of the 2019 season rather than making a major splash this summer. 

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