For a large part of the summer, Bayern Munich were adamant that Robert Lewandowski was not for sale. However despite those protestations, the Polish striker finalized his move to FC Barcelona this Saturday. So what actually changed? Why did Bayern soften their stance?
Speaking to Bild, club CEO Oliver Kahn explained the bosses’ reasoning. The quotes are as follows (courtesy of @iMiaSanMia):
Oliver Kahn speaking to @cfbayern: "With "Basta" you end a discussion. And that's exactly what I wanted at the time, because two months ago we neither had an offer for Robert nor alternatives in prospect. Since then the situation has changed fundamentally." [@BILD]— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) July 16, 2022
“In the end,” he continued, “FC Barcelona offered a fee that makes selling Lewandowski absolutely sensible for us. In addition, we have been very successful on the transfer market recently and signed an absolutely world-class player for the attack in Sadio Mane.”
For reference, Lewandowski’s fee is reported to be around €45m guaranteed with €5m in additional bonuses. Bayern were originally holding out for at least €50m fixed, paid in one installment. Therefore, it’s clear that the club had to lower its demands to accommodate a transfer.
“My job is solely to always achieve the best for FC Bayern,” said Kahn. “We were always in the driving seat and always acted from a position of strength. And in the end, we felt it was best to give Robert permission to leave. At FC Bayern, we can live very well with this outcome.”
As for the negotiations themselves, the legendary former goalkeeper had this to day:
“Clinging to something out of excessive stubbornness or because of one’s own ego is more of a sign of weakness for me. It’s always about what’s best for FC Bayern, the club, the team and the fans. I evaluate things based on that.”
As for whether Bayern would sign a replacement for the departing striker, Kahn was ambivalent, simply stating that Bayern would keep an eye on the market. He reiterated that Julian Nagelsmann has an excellent squad, and all the tools needed to keep Bayern’s attacking game at a high level.
So, according to the CEO himself, Lewandowski’s departure shouldn’t have any bearing on whether Bayern Munich are successful next season. It’s up to the coach and players to prove him right. Despite losing Lewy, the Bayern bosses have invested an awful lot of money into the squad in this transfer window. Such investment demands results, especially in the Bundesliga and the Champions League.