After almost eight years at Bayern Munich, it’s looking increasingly likely that Robert Lewandowski could leave the club this summer. Recent reports have placed FC Barcelona as the frontrunner for the 33-year-old’s signature, which is rather surprising (for a long list of reasons). People speculate that this is an attempt by Pini Zahavi to squeeze more money out of Bayern in contract negotiations, but the rumors never would’ve gotten so loud if Lewandowski himself wasn’t interested in a move.
So why FC Barcelona? Well, Javi Martinez has a theory. Speaking on El Larguero, the former Bayern Munich midfielder shared his views on the transfer, explaining why Lewandowski would want to move to Barcelona at this stage of his career:
⚽ @Javi8martinez, sobre Lewandowski en @ellarguero— El Larguero (@ellarguero) April 28, 2022
"Hoy he hablado con él, me ha dicho: 'cada día tienes más canas'"
"Creo que hay alguna posibilidad de que juegue en el Barça. Pienso que él cree que jugando en España hubiera tenido un Balón de Oro o dos" pic.twitter.com/I0eyj1U3nU
Here’s a translation, courtesy of @iMiaSanMia:
If Bayern don’t want to sell you, you’re fu**ed, because there are no release clauses. But I think there’s a possibility he goes to Barça. Lewy believes he would have won a Ballon d’Or or two if he played in Spain, that’s why he wants to try.
He has the feeling he deserved the Ballon d’Or. It’s not the same playing in the Spanish League, at Barça or Madrid, as it is in the Bundesliga. Does he prefer Real or Barça? I’ll ask him tomorrow. I spoke to him today and he told me: “Every day you have more grey hair.”
Obviously some Bayern fans will try to dismiss this, but Javi’s logic makes sense. No matter how many team titles you win, individual awards like the Ballon d’Or matter to a player like Lewandowski, and the last two seasons have shown that a Bayern Munich player will never be allowed to win the the award no matter what they do. Lewandowski was robbed in 2020 when France Football arbitrarily canceled the award, and then again in 2021 when Leo Messi was unjustly awarded the trophy ahead of him.
With Bayern’s disastrous Champions League campaign this season, 2022 looks like it won’t be Lewy’s year either. So, at age 33, Lewandowski may be looking for a high profile move to get him the recognition he wants. It would certainly explain why reports say he’s willing to take a pay-cut to join Barcelona this summer.
Of course, Javi also says that Bayern don’t sell unless they want to, so there’s a chance that the board could put their foot down and block a transfer this summer no matter what. But can Bayern really afford to lose Lewandowski on a free next year? Or will Lewy’s position soften in a year’s time, when he turns 34 and will likely find fewer suitors willing to take a risk on him? We’ll have to wait and see. This Lewandowski issue won’t solve itself very easily.