¡Basta! That’s Spanish for ‘enough!’, as in Bayern Munich president Oliver Kahn snapping “[Robert Lewandowski] is fulfilling his contract, enough!” during the Bundesliga title celebrations back in May. He’s apparently softened his stance since then — but Bayern still have one bulldog willing to get down and tussle to keep their star striker from going to FC Barcelona.
That man is former president Uli Hoeneß, who still sits on the supervisory board and holds considerable sway behind the scenes. According to BILD+, the latest is that the Lewandowski camp believes it’s Uli currently putting the breaks on conciliatory overtures:
While the [current brass] are slowly softening their tough stance and already signaled a willingness to talk in the background, Hoeneß continues to campaign for a clear “no” to a move [...]
Of course, Hoeneß has a say in the decision. As a member of the supervisory board, he has to approve any large million-dollar deals made by the Bavarians.
Everyone knows that he still has a great influence on his “pupil” [sporting director Hasan] Salihamidžić. And for the new boss Kahn it is much more difficult to sell the departure of the world footballer without losing face if the old boss is clearly against it...
Well, that’s certainly our Uli. The 70-year-old has certainly lost no fire in his belly, and recently unleashed a spicy retort at the Catalan club’s apparently feeble efforts — telling them to come back when they’ve got real money (also in reference to their suspect financial position).
At Bayern, the sporting side — from the manager to the sporting director — makes the judgments on transfer window targets and contract extensions, but operate within financial constraints set by the supervisory board. So while there may indeed be some internal re-evaluation, Uli’s publicly tossed firecracker is a real wrench in any potential rapprochement.
The Lewandowski camp is also reportedly piqued by the curious juxtaposition of Bayern’s Sadio Mané acquisition from Liverpool — at a substantially lower fee in accommodation to the player’s wishes — while Lewandowski is denied the same. Apparently, they’ve found the club “ungrateful” after eight super years of service.
Personally, I’m past ready for this ... staring contest to end. Lewandowski should go where he’s happy, and both sides can go back to appreciating each other for shared bygone glories. Barça are apparently dropping €75m on Leeds United’s Raphinha, so who knows how this happens, but early clarity has, I think, immense value.
But that’s me. Bayern bosses would be right to judge that there’s no Lewandowski clone sitting out there. They are as much within their rights to hold Lewy to his contract as he is to agitate for a move. As Tottenham’s Harry Kane found out last year, the player doesn’t always win. So on we go, still waiting to see how this goes.
And if you’ve lost track of all the comings and goings in this unending saga, we’ve got a few related stories to help you catch up: