As it is with the transfer window every summer, big names in soccer are continually linked with potential suitors for a move away. Most never come to fruition, primarily because they were never a viable option, but there are some global blockbuster moves that take centre stage throughout the window.
This time, it appears to be Robert Lewandowski’s turn.
It is wise to take a pinch of salt with rumours, but the fact that the Poland international dropped his long-term agent for Pini Zahavi, a well-known and effective deal maker among the European heavyweights, suggests there is something in the air. Zahavi, who brokered Neymar’s move from Barcelona to the French capital, said earlier this month:
“Robert [Lewandowski] feels he needs a change and a new challenge in his career. The managers of Bayern know about it.”
With the World Cup looming, it is unlikely that Lewandowski’s proposed transfer out of Munich is to go through before or during it. With a lot of money at stake, it is most probable that this one will be drawn out throughout the majority of the window as each side looks for the upper hand. Bayern’s executives will know all too well how a successful World Cup can increase the valuation of a player to new heights.
Unlike the other powerhouses of Europe, Bayern Munich have never been ones to excessively spend. Not in comparison to Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and so on. They have always looked for the bargain buys and target players who they can evolve into top soccer players.
Unless an opportunity too good to turn down comes along, Bayern have always trusted youth and have been a great practitioner for it over the years. Lewandowski was, of course, highly-rated when he made the move from Borussia Dortmund to Munich, but they picked him up on a free transfer, as they did with Mats Hummels
Bayern’s power and influence in the German market keeps them constantly signing the next big things in the country and turning them into scintillating players; a model that has served them well. The Poland striker, now 29-years-old, realises that he has one big move left in him before the legs start to seize up.
Lewandowski is a world-class player and one that is among the very best in his position, having scored 151 goals in 195 games for the German champions.
Lewandowski is 7/4 to stay at Bayern Munich past the summer with Betway, while Real Madrid lead the way with odds at 5/2 to snap him up. Chelsea, Manchester United and even PSG remain in the hunt for the Poland international.
Many clubs around Europe would love to have such a prolific striker in their team, but only so few would be able to afford Lewandowski. With his contract running until 2021, Bayern Munich will be in no rush to conclude any potential sale this summer.
The lucrative offers will come in for him - possibly starting at around £80 million - but the German giants are in a strong position to drain every penny from the buying club.
Lewandowski offers a team a direct route of playing as his hold-up play is simply exceptional. Not only can he play with his back to goal, the Polishman’s ability to bring others into play and finish off moves in-and-around the box is second to none.
41 goals and five assists in 48 appearances last season suggests that he has no intention of slowing down. In the past three seasons, Lewandowski has scored more than 40 goals in all competitions, which is why he is one of the deadliest strikers on the planet. Real Madrid have Karim Benzema still in the pomp of his career, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s future is uncertain with PSG snooping around.
While Lewandowski wouldn’t play out-wide, Florentino Pérez, Madrid’s President, is said to have tried on several attempts to prize him away from Munich to no avail. This summer might well be a change of fortunes.
For Chelsea, they face the growing problem of Roman Abramovich’s tenure and a lack of a manager. With the Russian oligarch stalling his plans to expand Stamford Bridge’s capacity until further notice - said to be because of his anger of not having his visa renewed by the UK - the Blues might have to tail back on lucrative spending on players, as they have done over the past 18 months.
While money can be created by players leaving the club, it is unlikely that Abramovich will sanction a club-record deal for a 29-year-old this summer - especially given Álvaro Morata only arrived 12 months prior. Manchester United and PSG remain unlikely destinations, purely because Romelu Lukaku and Edinson Cavani occupy the first choice places for the centre forward position.
There is a slim chance that the Uruguayan might leave back to Italy this summer, which would free up the space for Lewandowski, but it remains doubtful that José Mourinho would have a striker to leapfrog the Belgian in the roster.
It is going to be a long summer ahead with twists and turns with every passing day, but Lewandowski, for the first time since joining Bayern Munich, has opened up dialogue about wanting to leave for pastures new. Whichever team does end up acquiring him have one of the best centre forwards of this generation.