Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona: Why a transfer is closer than ever

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 22 Jun 2022 12:07 CEST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 22 Jun 2022 12:07 CEST 3 min read
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich, 2021/22

Barcelona's hopes of signing Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich have been boosted by the German champions moving into pole position to sign Sasa Kalajdzic from Stuttgart.

Lewandowski's desire to leave Bayern for Barcelona has been clear for weeks now. Just a matter of days before returning to Munich for pre-season training, the record-breaking Pole even said: "No other offers were even considered by me other than that of Barcelona. I want to leave Bayern, that's clear."

Bayern have been equally steadfast in their bargaining position, however. Lewandowski's contract runs until 2023 and they simply ignored Barca's opening bid of €32 million. The record Bundesliga winners are understood to want closer to €50m, which is a fee that seems out of Barca's reach.

Doors opening for Barca and Bayern

The Catalan club recently raised nearly €600m through the sales of licensing and merchandising as well as television rights, so that half of the Lewandowski equation looks to be settled.

But with Bayern set to announce the arrivals of Sadio Mane from Liverpool and Kalajdzic from Stuttgart - beating the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to the latter - there are now very few barriers left in the way of a deal.

Yes, Bayern would be parting ways with a player who has scored a barely fathomable 344 goals in 375 games for them in all competitions, but €50m for a player who turns 34 this summer represents shrewd business, especially with reinforcements set to arrive.

Mane is a versatile attacker who may not be a like-for-like replacement, the Senegalese having preferred to operate on the wings for Liverpool, but he led the line towards the end of last season with Roberto Firmino injured, and fired them into the Champions League final.

Kalajdzic's is the arrival that will tip the balance, however. A natural No.9, the Bundesliga's tallest player is deceptively good at link-up play, and there is no reason that he and Mane couldn't line up together in the final third.

Last season was an injury-ravaged one for the Austrian, but he still scored six goals in 15 games - 13 of them starts - which included an equaliser against Bayern in May. The previous season, his first in the Bundesliga, returned 16 goals and six assists, and at 24 the best is still to come, unlike with Lewandowski.