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Why Julian Nagelsmann secretly pushed Bayern Munich to sell Robert Lewandowski to FC Barcelona

What was Nagelsmann cooking?

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FC Bayern München v FC Barcelona: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

According to an analysis by The Athletic, Harry Kane could be on the verge of breaking the Bundesliga goalscoring record in his very first season. Yes, this is the same record that Robert Lewandowski set a couple of years back, the season before he left Bayern Munich for FC Barcelona in the summer of 2022.

If you’re here for the analysis then you should click on the link, but Honigstein leaves an interesting tidbit in the middle that really deserves to be examined in detail.

Lewandowski’s unwillingness to drop deeper to join in attacks was one of the reasons Nagelsmann suggested the club should sell him in the summer of 2022.

The idea that Nagelsmann had a part to play in the sale of Robert Lewandowski has long been rumored within the fanbase, but without anything concrete to back it up. Now, we have a known Bayern Munich insider confirming that specific detail.

There have long been rumors of friction between Julian Nagelsmann and Robert Lewandowski. Neither party saw eye to eye. A report by Sport Bild in April 2022 (via @iMiaSanMia) alleged the following:

Lewandowski has a problem with Nagelsmann’s system. He believes it doesn’t provide him with enough scoring chances. Last week, there was an internal meeting where Nagelsmann asked the players to speak up if they’re unhappy with something. Lewandowski remained silent.

After the Polish striker was sold, Sport Bild were singing a different tune (via @iMiaSanMia):

Julian Nagelsmann is enjoying the fact he can try a lot of attacking tactics in training without having to accommodate Robert Lewandowski. The coach is now able to implement his ideas and game plans from his time in Hoffenheim and Leipzig on the pitch.

The closest thing we got to confirmation was this cryptic statement by Nagelsmann during the preseason of 2022, where he said Bayern Munich would be more unpredictable after signing Sadio Mané from Liverpool FC.

Of course, Nagelsmann was a little bit too optimistic — Sadio Mané, for example, turned out to be a massive flop. Bayern Munich were back to using a traditional striker just a few months after Lewandowski’s departure, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting stepping up to fill the role. Later, the club went out and broke the bank to secure Harry Kane, realizing that you can’t just replace a player of Lewandowski’s caliber without spending some hard cash.

Still, this is a fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes at Bayern Munich. The Lewandowski transfer was a massive moment for the club — they decided to go all-in on a coach’s vision, and allowed a player to force a move when a big club came calling.

Looking at it with hindsight, it seems like Bayern had the last laugh. Lewandowski is now struggling to score at Barcelona, and Xavi seems fed up. However, it also dispels the myth that Bayern Munich somehow knew that Lewandowski’s decline was imminent, and decided to “cash-in” on the striker. The decision was far more nuanced, and the player’s decline does not seem to have been a factor.

In short, the internet will have to find someone else to blame for Barcelona’s poor spending habits.

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