Barcelona are set to sign Polish striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich in a bold move by the debt-ridden club to sign a world-class goalscorer who could finally help fill the void left by the departure of Lionel Messi.
European clubs reached an agreement in principle on the transfer of Lewandowski to Camp Nou.
“We reached a verbal agreement with Barcelona.” “It’s nice to have clarity for all parties,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said on the club’s Twitter account on Saturday. “Robert is an incredible player and he won everything with us. We are incredibly grateful to him.”
Barcelona said agreement pending medical examination and final signing.
Spanish media reports that the transfer will cost Barcelona 50 million euros ($50.4 million).
Lewandowski, 33, one of football’s most prolific goalscorers of the past decade, would greatly boost Barcelona’s chances of rebuilding a competitive squad after going winless last season Messi’s departurehis all-time leading scorer.
Lewandowski scored 312 goals in 384 Bundesliga games for Bayern Munich and previous club Borussia Dortmund. Last season, he scored 35 goals in 34 matches and became the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the seventh time. Barcelona’s top scorers have been Memphis Depay and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with 13 goals each in their last campaign.
Barcelona also get a proven winner. Lewandowski helped Bayern win the 2020 Champions League it humiliated Barcelona 8-2 in the quarterfinals. He also won 10 Bundesliga titles, four German Cups and the Club World Cup with the Bavarian powerhouse.
Only the dominance of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo probably prevented Lewandowski from winning more individual awards.
But at the end of May, Lewandowski said that “my story with Bayern Munich is over” after negotiations over a contract extension with Bayern broke down. He has one more season left in connection with Bayern.
He will now join a team coached by Javi Hernandez who relied on Aubameyang and Ferran Torres for their goals after they joined last winter when Depay was injured and lost his starting job as a striker. He will have Spain’s young and talented midfielders Pedro Gonzalez and Gavi Paez to set him up.
Barcelona is mired in debt mainly because of the huge transfer fees and salaries paid by his previous president and board. In order to sign the contracts this summer, current president Jaan Laporta had to sell 10% of the team’s Spanish league television rights for the next 25 years in exchange for 207.5 million euros ($207.5 million).
That cash infusion also helped him secure the transfer of Brazilian winger Rafinha and sign Ousmane Dembele to a new contract last week as he hopes to challenge Spanish and European champions Real next season. Local media reports that Barcelona have agreed to pay Leeds almost €60 million ($60 million) plus add-ons for the 25-year-old Rafinha.
Now, with a veteran like Lewandowski soon to come on board, the club is clearly betting on winning titles again in the short term. Last season, Barcelona finished second in Spain behind Madrid and failed to progress beyond the Champions League group stage.
To recoup the costs, Barcelona said this week that it was agreed with “Manchester United”. potentially sending Dutch midfielder Frankie de Jong to the Premier League club for €75 million ($75 million), plus a possible €10 million in variables. The move, however, had to be approved by De Jong, who according to media reports has no interest in leaving Barcelona.
The sale allows Bayern to cash in on a player who turns 34 next month, would be a free agent next year and has made clear his desire to leave.
If confirmed, the fee would be a club record sale for Bayern, surpassing the 40 million euros ($40.3 million) the German champions received from Juventus for Douglas Costa in 2018.
Eric Maxim Chupa-Moting is Bayern’s typical back-up for Lewandowski, but he rarely starts, while other forwards such as Sadio Mane, Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are predominantly wide players.
So replacing a player who has been the Bundesliga’s top scorer in each of the last five seasons — and who set a league record with 41 goals in 2020-21 — will be a tall order.