The summer of 2022 has quite a few transfer sagas unfolding, chief among them being those in the striker department. Of the four strikers most football fans can agree are the best in the world, three are potentially on the move this summer. Erling Haaland has already sealed a blockbuster move to Manchester City, and Kylian Mbappé is still a topic of discussion in both the Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid camps.
Robert Lewandowski remains in the same situation as Mbappé, stuck between a contract extension at Bayern Munich and a transfer to FC Barcelona. From what we had heard from the Bayern Munich board so far, they were adamant that Lewandowski would stay at Bayern this season and leave on a free transfer next season or extend his contract by another year.
However, upon re-consideration, the board have become less intrenched in this belief. They now believe that if they were to receive a bid in the region of €40 million, they would let go of the Polish marksman (Bild as captured by @iMiaSanMia):
Bayern are starting to soften their stance regarding a possible Lewandowski sale this summer. The club's bosses & Lewandowski's teammates have noticed how annoyed the Pole has been in recent weeks. Many are wondering whether it makes sense to keep him against his will [@BILD] pic.twitter.com/kCiM6WYg0s— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 12, 2022
Internally, it is now expected that Bayern would let Lewandowski go for an offer of around 35 to 40 million euros, a fee that Barcelona would be willing to pay [@BILD]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 12, 2022
The reasons are obvious.
No player will perform to their highest standard when they feel they are being held at a club against their will. The club will also not receive a fee for him if they were to let him go next summer.
Extending his contract would be a financial burden as he is demanding a three-year extension, something Bayern are against in principle due to the club’s internal “30+ rule” (no player over 30 will receive an extension beyond one year at a time).
The current attack is unhealthily centered on the Pole. Letting go of him would allow the team to diversify their approaches to attack, possibly even find a younger player to play the striker role or even a deeper 9 role as coach Julian Nagelsmann prefers within his front line.
Without Lewandowski, Bayern would be more flexible in attack and less predictable - the wingers in particular could develop even more and become more of a goal threat [@BILD]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 12, 2022
My personal view of it is that if we sell Lewandowski, we must extend the contract of Serge Gnabry with the promise and thought that he will play as our primary striker. I think Gnabry would be well-suited to a 9 role that roams deep and allows the forwards on either side of him to make darting diagonal runs (see also: Youssouf Poulsen facilitating Christopher Nkunku [6G, 5A] and Dani Olmo [5G, 9A] in Nagelsmann’s final season at RB Leipzig).
Bayern Munich would then have to look at strengthening the front line in Lewandowski’s absence with depth. Joshua Zirkzee has shown moments of brilliance, but I don’t think he is made for the top level. Lucas Copado is showing huge signs of promise, but at 18 he still has many years to go before he can be relied upon as a backup. I think Bayern should enter the market for the ever-rumoured Saša Kalajdžić (VfB Stuttgart) or Benjamin Šeško (RB Salzburg). They could also look at some more left-field options such as those mentioned in this Mannschaft Planen article by yours truly.
What do you think of the board’s new stance? Should Lewandowski close the book on the most successful chapter of his career now? The discussion is open as always in the forum below.