AS journalist Javi Miguel captured a bit of “Fear and Loathing in La Liga”, as FC Barcelona is coming to grips with the fact that it will not be getting Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski this summer:
“Right now only a conjunction of stars would bring Lewandowski to Barcelona”. This is how graphic and emphatic they are when talking about the status of the signing of the Polish striker. The main obstacle is Bayern Munich, who are willing to lose money and let the player leave for free next season, rather than let him leave this summer. From Barcelona it is assumed that this intransigence of the Bavarian entity is being an almost insurmountable obstacle, since all interlocutors who have been contacted within the German club maintain the same unequivocal mantra: “Robert Lewandowski is not for sale”.
While Bayern Munich has made its intentions quite clear, Barca just will not give up hope just yet:
In any case, neither Barça nor the player have said the last word yet. The Blaugrana club, which hopes to soon activate one of the economic levers that would alleviate the treasury, would be willing to raise its offer to 40 million euros, while the international has already made it clear to Bayern that he will not renew and wants to leave this summer. So right now the ball is in Bayern’s court. Although knowing the idiosyncrasy and pride of the Bavarian leaders, it seems very difficult to give their arm to twist.
Given how strong Bayern Munich has been on this topic, it remains extremely that even a large financial offer will make the Bavarians budge.
Noted football pundit and close friend to the Haaland family, Jan Aage Fjortoft, attempted to throw some cold water on to rumors that FC Barcelona passed on the Norwegian because the club was worried about his lifestyle:
What a hopeless thing to say!— Jan Aage Fjørtoft ️ (@JanAageFjortoft) May 6, 2022
I have seen many good players develop into great players and I have seldom seen a player more dedicated on- and off the pitch to get better than @ErlingHaaland https://t.co/OzikDqDZab
The lifestyle subject is vague. Haaland has seemingly kept his nose clean and stayed out of trouble, so — if this silly rumor is true — it remains to be seen what Barca found so alarming about Haaland’s life off the pitch.
Another week is in the books and after Bayern Munich’s controversial trip to Ibiza, things didn’t really settle down.
An unfortunate loss to Mainz and the Ibiza fiasco were followed by a big contract extension, and a whole lot more — which resulted in a good discussion from Chuck and Jake on a number of topics.
Yup, two dudes doing a Weekend Warm-up podcast at the same time!
Here is what we have on tap:
- A look at Thomas Müller’s contract extension, what it means for the club, and how Julian Nagelsmann could have tough decisions to make.
- A discussion on Robert Lewandowski’s contract status and why it just makes sense for him to play at least one more year at Bayern Munich.
- Thoughts on where Leroy Sane stands after two years and how he’s lived (or not lived) up to expectations.
- Borussia Dortmund’s new acquisitions and why they could be building something good.
- A look at the week in Europe as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City choked...again — and some admiration for the Europa League’s German contingent, RB Leipzig and Eintracht Frankfurt.
It looks like Bayern Munich’s attempt to lure Warren Zaire-Emery to Germany fell on deaf ears:
Warren Zaire-Emery is only 16 years old and for many observers he is one, if not the greatest hope of the PSG training center. The 16-year-old midfielder shines on the field and if he is far from being the one who talks the most on the field, his impact, his presence, his ability to rebalance the midfield opened the doors to him for the U19s. Nationals then of the Youth League (he also scored a decisive goal during the heroic victory (3-2) of the Parisian titis against FC Bruges last December) with the PSG but also of the French U17 team with who he will play in Israel for the Euro U17 .
Performances which then alerted RB Leizpig and Bayern Munich in particular. Last March, we mentioned that PSG and in particular Leonardo were making progress on the outlines of a first pro contract . According to our information, there are only a few more details to settle for this to be official. Very good news for Parisian supporters who will no doubt be able to count on a new quality midfielder in the coming weeks.
It appears that Chelsea had big plans for getting Erling Haaland, but its current status in ownership limbo has cancelled the potential transfer action:
Chelsea are frustrated that restrictions arising from the sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich halted their pursuit of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, sources told ESPN.
The Blues are unable to sign players as per the special licence granted to continue fulfilling fixtures following Abramovich’s identification as a key figure with ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted last week that in a normal season, “we would have some targets and we would have for sure contacted some players and found out about their situations [but] our hands are tied.”
Sources told ESPN that one of the options senior figures at the club wanted to discuss was Haaland. Chelsea looked at the 21-year-old last summer prior to signing Romelu Lukaku, only to be told by Dortmund they would retain his services for another year.
There is a strong expectation that Manchester City will land the Norway striker, largely because they have been laying the foundations of a deal for several weeks. But City will not break their wage structure to land Haaland, sources told ESPN. The framework of the deal — including agent fees — is already in place and City have until June to formally trigger the €75m release clause in Haaland’s contract at Borussia Dortmund.
Haaland is set to become one of the top earners at the Etihad Stadium, but the club have been clear during talks with Haaland’s representatives they will not break the bank. Sources told ESPN that negotiations over his salary have not gone beyond the level agreed with Kevin De Bruyne when the Belgian midfielder signed his latest extension in April 2021, worth around £375,000 a week. Chelsea wanted to see whether Haaland was interested in a move to west London and perhaps even discussed contract terms but the ownership situation continues to drag on.
Bayern Munich has interest in VfB Stuttgart attacking midfielder Laurin Ulrich:
Stuttgart talent Laurin Ulrich (17/AM) is on Bayern's radar. The player has a contract until 2023 with an option for another year in Stuttgart. Ulrich is represented by Roman Rummenigge, son of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, therefore there are ties to Bayern [Bayern Insider, @cfbayern] pic.twitter.com/ZmrczwGB8a— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) May 6, 2022
Ulrich has 10 goals and five assists in 24 games across all competition for VfB Stuttgart’s U-17 and U-19 teams this season.
Simply put, this game means everything for VfB Stuttgart and absolutely nothing for the Ibiza Bunch...err, Bayern Munich.
I kid, I kid.
I could not care any less about the Ibiza trip, but the Bavarians will have to play much better — and will need to show more life — than they did last week. This is what we have on tap for this episode:
- A look at where each squad is in the table.
- A look at the recent form for both squads.
- Some key players to watch for VfB Stuttgart.
- Why this match could go a long way in determining if VfB Stuttgart gets relegated.
- The after-effects of some youngsters being left out of the squad last week.
- A guess at who Julian Nagelsmann might start (Hint: This could be a very veteran-laden lineup to start the match).
- A prediction on the match.
While he is rehabbing an injury, Bayern Munich loanee Chris Richards stopped by his old stomping grounds at FC Dallas:
This story is pretty fascinating:
Had you given Diego Maradona’s jersey to any England fan after that 1986 World Cup quarterfinal, chances are they’d have either torn the blue Argentina jersey to shreds, or set it on fire. Now the one worn by Argentina’s Maradona when he scored two of the most famous goals in World Cup history will set a world record price at auction for a match-worn jersey.
Those two goals, in Argentina’s 2-1 victory over England, are etched in World Cup history. The second, where Maradona snaked from the halfway line, through England’s defense, was voted Goal of the Century by FIFA. The first is infamous. Maradona got ahead of goalkeeper Peter Shilton and, as the two jumped, Maradona palmed the ball into England’s empty net — known as the “Hand of God” goal. On April 22 it was put up for auction by England midfielder Steve Hodge, who swapped shirts with Maradona after the game.
Auction house Sotheby’s put an estimated £4-6 million price (approximately $5-7.5 million U.S. dollars) on the item and within hours, the first bid had come in at the £4 million mark. When the additional buyer’s premium, overhead premium, and Value Added Tax are factored in, the shirt will, on May 4, likely sell for the second-most spent on an item of sports memorabilia in history.