Robert Lewandowski looks Bayern Munich-bound after Manchester United interest
Poland international scored four goals against Real Madrid this week
Friday 26 April 2013
The problem with scoring four goals in a European Cup semi-final against Real Madrid is that people might take an interest.
Robert Lewandowski made himself one of Europe's most popular strikers on Wednesday with a remarkable one-man show at the Westfalenstadion, scoring three excellent centre-forward's goals before a penalty kick which will almost certainly send him and Borussia Dortmund through to the Champions League final.
But that game might well be Lewandowski's last for Dortmund. The Polish striker has just one more season left on his contract after this one and does not look like signing an extension. No club would want to lose a player that good on a free transfer, meaning a summer departure is quite possible.
The most likely destination, to much frustration in Dortmund, is Bayern Munich. Dortmund's likely Champions League final opponents seem to be doing their best to ensure there is no Bundesliga title race next year. Mario Götze is already heading from Dortmund to Munich this summer for €37m (£31.1m) and Lewandowski may well follow.
According to the German press, Lewandowski is keen on a move and has already agreed a deal with the Bavarian club. Bayern have offered Dortmund €25m (£21m) but that has been turned down. Lewandowski's agent, Maik Barthel, said this week that "we have reached an agreement with a club and intend him to move this summer".
His current manager, Jürgen Klopp, said on Wednesday night that he was "pretty sure" that Lewandowski would stay at Dortmund, but if he will not sign an extension there may be an auction this summer. Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be an admirer, and Manchester United were even thought to have countenanced selling Wayne Rooney to Bayern to increase their chances of landing Lewandowski.
Manchester City will also be looking for a striker this summer and if they cannot sign Napoli's Edinson Cavani then Lewandowski would be a very plausible alternative. He has all of the skills required to succeed in England, is strong enough and sharp enough in the box to play as a traditional No 9, while also having the quick feet to create his own chances. His turns for the second and third goals on Wednesday were delightful.
There is even the prospect of interest from Spain, with Real Madrid not desperately happy with either Karim Benzema or Gonzalo Higuain. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo described him as "the greatest Polish talent since Zbigniew Boniek" this morning, which might well be right.
Lewandowski has certainly been the best centre-forward in the Bundesliga for two years. He scored 30 goals last year as Dortmund won the German Double, with a hat-trick against Bayern in the cup final and a cleverly flicked winner in the title decider against his prospective new employers.
But even at 24 he is already very used to shouldering the scoring responsibility. Before he joined Dortmund in 2010, when at Lech Poznan, his prodigious goal rate delivered a cup and a league title, their first since 1993. He already has 50 caps and 17 goals for Poland, including the first goal of Euro 2012.
"His quality, his mentality, his physical fitness, how he thinks about football, and how cool he is," Klopp said after his four-goal haul, listing Lewandowski's qualities. "And out of the whole world, he plays for Dortmund."
He might yet bring even more glory to Dortmund this season but that then may well be it.
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