Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski cut ties with long-time agent Cezary Kucharski in a surprise move. The 10-year relationship ends at a curious time for Lewandowski, who has been openly linked to Real Madrid in various reports.
Farewell Kucharski, hello Zahavi
Polish journalist Mateusz Borek broke the story yesterday that Lewandowski was dismissing Kucharski:
BREAKING: Po ponad 10 latach współpracy. Robert LEWANDOWSKI zmienia agenta. Z Czarkiem Kucharskim zrobili dużo fajnych rzeczy razem ale współpraca właśnie dobiegła końca. Teraz czas na światowy TOP.. Z kim zwiąże się umową Lewy? Mino RAIOLA? Pini ZAGAVI? A może Jorge MENDES?— Mateusz Borek (@BorekMati) February 21, 2018
Borek’s tweet roughly translates to the following:
BREAKING: After more than 10 years of cooperation. Robert LEWANDOWSKI changes agent. They did a lot of great things with Chef Kucharski, but the cooperation just came to an end. Now is the time for the global TOP. Who will tie up with Lewy? Mino RAIOLA? Pini ZAHAVI? Or maybe Jorge MENDES?
Borek linked Lewandowski to three possible successors (PolsatSport), but it appears that Lewandowski is going with Pini Zahavi, who was a central figure in Neymar’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, as reported by i24news:
The 73-year-old Israeli former journalist is the man who has orchestrated a move considered unthinkable in the sporting world up until recently, whereby Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will pay 222 million Euros to snatch the Brazilian from FC Barcelona, a record-breaking sum. Better known in the UK where he facilitated the arrival of Roman Abramovich to Chelsea FC in 1993, it is thanks to his sprawling network in the footballing world and ties to the Neymar family that Zahavi was able to facilitate the move.
Per Le Parisien, Zahavi pocketed an astounding €36 million in the Neymar transfer deal. Make no mistake, Zahavi is a heavy hitter and extremely influential.
Prelude to a blockbuster transfer?
The move comes at a curious time for Lewandowski, who has repeatedly been linked to Real Madrid and publicly critical of Bayern Munich’s transfer agenda and tactics. Widely considered one of the top strikers in the world, Lewandowski, who has a spectacular 22 goals in 23 games this season, would be coveted by nearly every top-tier club on the open market. Whatever the case, it would appear Bayern Munich may need to add Lewandowski to the list of contracts to discuss this postseason.
Polish news outlet Przeglad Sportowy drew an immediate connection between Lewandowski’s move to Zahavi and the possibility of a exodus from Munich. According to Przeglad Sportowy, Zahavi has already spoken with officials at Real Madrid:
Since he is responsible for the largest purchases in the world of football, that is why Robert Lewandowski and his representatives have decided that Zahavi will be the right person to look after his interests. The Israeli will be able to orchestrate a possible summer transfer on amicable terms. He has already held initial talks with the owners of Real Madrid, but his most important task will be reaching agreement with the heads of Bayern Munich.
Zahavi furthermore has extensive contacts in the United Kingdom, which could open up other possibilities for Lewandowski, should interest and money materialize. Przeglad Sportowy claim Real Madrid is prepared to pay €150 million for the striker, vaulting him into the top three most expensive transfers in history—at least, if Zahavi lives up to expectations.
Lewandowski on his future
Even in the midst of wildly successful run this season, Lewandowski appears to have his eyes at least glancing occasionally to the future. In addition the Real Madrid rumors as noted above, Lewandowski has also talked openly about ending his career stateside in the MLS, specifically in Los Angeles as his wife Anna told Business Insider - Poland:
I think we will spend some time in the United States, too. We dream of Los Angeles. That’s where we want to develop our brands. We hope that Robert will end his career at a club in Los Angeles.
Whatever occurs, Lewandowski has not let any off-the-field issues affect his game play. Lewandowski recently reiterated to Kicker that his focus is strictly on Bayern Munich and not on anything past the next game:
I’m not thinking about [Real Madrid rumors] at all at the moment. I’m a Bayern player and I want to give everything here. That is my priority. If I was to think about this Real speculation as a Bayern player, it would not be good for me because I would not be focused on my job here anymore.
A professional, Lewandowski will surely let his agents handle his future while he remains lasered in on Bayern’s run in the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, and UEFA Champions League. The noise from fan and media speculation, however, will only spike with this latest news and will inevitably grow even louder as the season winds down.