The Lewandowski transfer saga has been going through some interesting twists and turns of late, and some of these developments seem to have left open the possibility of him signing for a Premier League club.
It is a very complex situation that currently surrounds the player, and a lot of it is linked to Bayern Munich’s capture of Mario Gotze. Indeed, its players like Reus, Lewandowski and Gotze that sell the tickets at Westfalenstadion, and so to lose two out of the three of those has various ramifications. It is far more complex than that though, and Raphael Honigstein, a reliable expert on German football, has been speaking on the subject in detail.
[quote]Dortmund now have drawn a line in the sand saying he will not be released under any circumstances to Bayern Munich this summer.[/quote]
Of course Dortmund are aware that he has an agreement with Bayern, and also that if they were to stick to this policy that he would eventually leave for free the following summer. However it seems that they have come to the decision that a Lewandowski who is disillusioned, who is unhappy with life and who will be thinking about Munich is more valuable to them playing another season, as opposed to 30 million Euros and him playing against them for Munich.
Ideally they would want him to sign another contract with the club, but before the Bayern rumours even surfaced it was established that this would not happen, and that he would either be sold or see out his contract. Borussia Dortmund Director Michael Zorc said back in February:
[quote]Robert Lewandowski is not going to sign a new contract. We will have to see if he is going to be on the move in the summer. His contract runs until 2014. There are two options. Either he goes in June or he stays for another year.[/quote]
Now the situation has evolved even further, and Lewandowski signing a new contract seems extremely unlikely, to the point where we can probably rule it out entirely. Honigstein also commented:
[quote]Of course they would love to sell him to any club that’s not Bavarian (i.e, not Bayern Munich), so they are trying to deal with Manchester United, they’re talking to City, they’re talking to Chelsea – as a club they are saying ‘please take this player off me’.[/quote]
This was his explanation for why you see all the lewandowski stories, because Dortmund are in fact encouraging bids. The difficulty that they are consistently running into is that both the player and his agent are giving a resilient “NO” to this. Lewandowski only wants to go to Bayern Munich, and since the club promised him a move if a big offer came in, he sees it as Dortmund’s responsibility to live up to that.
What is also indirectly blocking this deal is the situation that Dortmund have been left in with Bayern signing Mario Gotze through the activation of his release clause. Hoginstein claims that as soon as that deal was done it was decided that they could not sell Lewandowski to Bayern too. It portrays them as a selling club, it embarrasses them to be losing their best players to Munich, and it will also directly strengthen their title rivals. In many ways this is a form of revenge for stealing Mario Gotze from them, a player developed by Dortmund and a player who was seen as their future. Given the dual competition between Bayern and Dortmund in Germany over the last few seasons and given Dortmund’s own goals it would be a disastrous move.
This leaves Lewandowski in the position that he can either deal with the situation, or he can make a move elsewhere. At this point it becomes important to question his mentality.
Is he the kind of individual who can take a year at Dortmund hated by the fans whilst sulking at the situation, yet still give 100% for the club and continue to be a world class player?
Well, it’s impossible to say for sure. However, there is some past evidence to suggest that he could stay with Dortmund and continue to play the way he has. Dortmund originally wanted to sign him from Lech Poznan a year before they actually did, but they ended up deciding that he wasn’t quite ready and so they left him in Poland for another year. The player was agitated of course but he went on to have a superb season and then went to Germany the following season. If you think this is evidential then yes he is certainly capable of holding onto his form for Dortmund next year. However:
[quote]“It is still a very awkward position and Dortmund would still much prefer to find any other buyer.”[/quote]
Well of course it makes sense that Dortmund would want to sell. It is a staggering thought that they might miss out on the chance of making between 30-40 million Euros simply to allow an unsettled player (albeit a very good player) to stay with them for one more season only to go Bayern a season later. This idea seems even crazier when you consider that the club are a business and that the current financial climate is crippling.
This is why a potential move to the Premiership for Lewandowski is still on the cards: because Dortmund desperately want to sell, and they are similarly desperate not to sell to Bayern. The offers will and likely already are there from England, and what it will hinge on is the attitude of Lewandowski. Right now he is adamant that Bayern is where he wants to be, so any foreign club looking for his signature would need to see a significant change of heart from him.
Chelsea, Manchester United and ManchesterCity are all attractive destinations. They are all competitive clubs and they will all pay large wages if it means signing him. For this reason I think it is still possible that we could see Lewandowski playing in the Premier league next season, as there plenty of options available to him that could lead him to change his mind.
No matter what happens though I expect this saga to stretch for the whole summer, because the three way stand-off between Dortmund, Lewandowski and Bayern Munich has plenty of time to run its course. There is no pressure for either Dortmund or the player to change their minds whilst there is still a chance that the other may blink. It will be in the dying weeks of the transfer window that their wills shall be tested. Dortmund will try and urge Lewandowski to go anywhere but Bayern, however if they fail in convincing him they may be forced to sell to their Bavarian rivals.
Should it come to it though, would any of Chelsea, Manchester United or Manchester City be interested in signing him? He is certainly a top quality player. In the league he scored 24 goals in 29 (2) appearances last season, and also laid on 5 assists for his teammates. Those are the stats of a world class striker and I would mention him in the same breath as Falcao and Cavani. He may well even be better, and so to get him for a lowered fee (due to the length left on his contract) should surely be an opportunity to be pounced on.
Chelsea are currently working on a deal to sign Cavani, and are in very advance talks, but the potential availability of Lewandowski could see their targets switch. Manchester United and ManchesterCity already have their own top quality strikers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they would not be interested in taking advantage of the situation, Manchester City especially. With Rooney un-settled and rumours of Tevez or Dzeko leaving this may drag onto to being the saga of the summer but will history repeat itself and will Manchester City miss out on the signing of the summer as they did last year with Robin Van Persie to United?
The problem is that clubs will typically look to get their activity in the transfer window over and done with early on, and, as I have already explained, Lewandowski would likely not change his mind on Munich until near the end of the summer. Would any of those clubs, Chelsea especially, be willing to gamble on Lewandowski changing his mind when they could get their deals done now? I think it’s unlikely.
Still, I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of Lewandowski in the Premier League next season. I’m a big fan of his and I hope that it works out that way.