Bayern Munich’s board of directors celebrated the transfer of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona for 60 million euros as unexpected deals are celebrated. The festive atmosphere in which this Friday the president, Herbert Hainer, the general manager, Oliver Kahn, the sporting director, Hasan Salihamidzic, and the coach concluded the operation, Julien Nagelsman, it was in line with expectations exceeded by the sale of a 34-year-old player they did not want. According to sources close to the technical staff and the management, after being eliminated from the Champions League in the quarter-final against Villarreal on April 22, the club decided to offer the Pole the letter of freedom if he did not accept not to renew the expired contract. in 2023.
The sudden interest shown by Barca in May – the Catalan club were the only ones to formalize an offer – led to a big financial injection. If from Barça it is unofficially indicated that the acquisition will cost 50 million, from Bayern, and on condition of anonymity, they assure that the transfer has been completed for a total of 60 million euros: 45 fixed, five if Barça qualifies for the Champions League in future seasons, and ten more if the player completes his first year of contract as culé. “Barca insisted on reaching 60 million if Bayern publicly announced beforehand that they were selling for 50,” says an agent who took part in the sale. “That’s how they want to mitigate the media impact”
“We know very well what we owe Robert,” Khan said, in the statement that formalized the departure; “But great players have left Bayern in the past and not only has our world not collapsed, on the contrary, we have often been more successful.”
Khan himself chaired the board meeting with Nagelsmann in February, when the coach presented his first major audit on the state of a squad showing signs of burnout. He suggested a regeneration of key positions. At the top of the list of victims was the Pole. Author of 277 goals in 275 games, Lewandowski enjoys the prestige conferred on him by being the most successful footballer in the major European championships since 2016. But the coach asserted his obsolescence, explaining that at 34, both his physique that his ambition had sagged in a general context which turned against him. Lewandowski, he said, belonged to a species, that of the new surface, this contemporary football condemned to disappear in teams which, like Bayern, tried to monopolize control of the ball.
“We had ten championships in a row,” Nagelsmann said, according to a club employee. “But if you want Bayern to be competitive in the Champions League, we need a new this is not just limited to shooting but has an amplifying effect on the collective game in the last third of the pitch”.
92 million gross in four years
Nagelsmann argued that the former new Opportunists like Lewandowski – or like Luka Jovic – stood out in the Bundesliga thanks to two factors. First, a predominant coming and going, of continuous transitions, which dragged the parties towards disorder; on the other hand, the criteria of the clubs in the selection of central defenders, who favor their height for aerial play before their agility and speed for anticipation. Put on this stage, Lewandowski stood out, but football, and that was enjoyed at the top levels of the Champions League, indicated inexorable changes. The defenses would coordinate better every day. If Bayern tried to dominate their rivals in the opposite field and without spaces, against closed defenses with attentive central defenders, Lewandowski would become a stopper. Nagelsmann said if Bayern produced ten scoring chances, Lewandowski would complete seven; but that if he managed to reformulate the attack without him, the team would manage 20 chances whose shot would be shared by the three attackers and the two midfielders. Their new The ideals of this scheme were Sadio Mané, whom he knew from Salzburg, and Roberto Firmino, with whom he coincided at Hoffenheim.
Stunned by the exposition, Khan and Salihamidzic began to scrutinize Lewandowski every game. The conclusion, after the double duel with Villarreal, was clear: Nagelsmann was right. In March, Bayern sought unsuccessfully to sign Haaland while offering Lewandowski a one-year renewal. Determined to leave, the Pole confessed to a friend at the club that his goal was not to earn more money. His wife, Anna, wanted to live in a southern country and Barça offered him 23 million euros gross for four seasons, below the 28 he won in Munich.
They tell Bayern that if they didn’t sell Lewandowski in June, it was because of an error in Barca’s strategy. The statements of the player at the end of the season, in May, saying he would no longer train with Bayern, was seen as intolerable blackmail. Uli Hoeness, the honorary chairman, felt that the idea that any act of rebellion would pay off against a weak club could not be transferred to the team. Hoeness also said among his directors that he was confident that Barca would end up paying what they demanded since Laporta was the real party, not Xavi Hernández. For days Bayern feigned disinterest and arrogance. He never responded to Barca’s first offer of 45 million plus five for goals and forced the striker to appear in Sabener Strasse in an act of contrition. Then it was Bayern themselves who unblocked the negotiation when a senior official spoke to Lewandowski last Monday, warning him that Barca would sign Raphinha for 70 million. If they really wanted to, he had to pressure his agent Pini Zahavi.
Harry Kane, an idea taken from Xavi
Last Wednesday, when Barca made the signing of Raphihna official, Lewandowski told Zahavi to look for another club immediately. Zahavi spoke with Joan Laporta, Barca’s president, and a few hours later the frenzy started at Bayern’s offices, where they started receiving upside offers. Kahn and Hoeness weren’t surprised. The Germans always knew that Barca’s interest would eventually turn into a profitable business for Bayern as Joan Laporta, the chairman, had a relationship with Pini Zahavi which even turned corporate.
Nagelsmann assures among his collaborators that Xavi has a “colossal” task ahead of him. The German coach notes that his Catalan colleague will have serious difficulties adapting Lewandowski to Barcelona’s elaborate play in such a well-organized concert of defenses as the League. The signing, in his opinion, is not Xavi’s wish. About two months ago, a mutual friend admitted to him that the priorities of Xavi, one of the people responsible for Ibrahimovic’s departure from Barça in 2012, did not go through the signing of a new like Lewandowski but to bring Messi back, try to sign Gabriel Jesús, or even convince Harry Kane to leave Tottenham, if he failed to qualify for the Champions League, as eventually happened. This information enlightened Nagelsmann. For weeks, the coach has been trying to convince the Bayern bosses to try to sign Kane, according to him, the new more associative than there is. The most capable in the world of generating dangerous situations, for himself and for his companions. The opposite of Lewandowski.
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