The lyrics from the Clash anthem ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’ have never seemed more apt in regards the future of a Bundesliga star. In the case of Robert Lewandowski, the question remains very much open with plenty of arguments for both staying at Bayern Munich and leaving for pastures new. One of the biggest transfer stories of the summer will be the answer to Joe Strummer’s classic question.
The fact that Bayern’s talismanic striker wants to leave the perennial Bundesliga champions has been made abundantly clear by the 33-year-old Pole. “I just want to leave Bayern,” said Lewandowski, who has one year remaining on his contract. “Loyalty and respect are more important than the work. The best thing to do is find a solution together.
“Even if you want to be professional, you can’t make up for it. No other offers were even considered by me other than that of Barcelona. I want to leave Bayern, that’s clear. During so many years at the club I was always ready, available, despite injuries and the pain, I gave my best. I think the best thing to do is to find a good solution for both sides. And not to look for a one-sided decision.
So, he wants out, and he wants to go to Barcelona. Bayern However are terrified at the prospect of losing their star man who has netted an incredible 344 goals in 375 appearances for the Bavarians since joining from rivals Borussia Dortmund. The system that works so successfully at the Allianz Arena sees the likes of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané and Thomas Müller providing the ammunition for Lewandowski to fill his boots and top the scoring charts year on year breaking so many records in the process.
With his contract not due to expire until next summer, Bayern could play hardball and insist he stays. On the other hand, with just one year remaining his ‘market value’ is nowhere his actual value and the sticking point seems to be Bayern’s valuation of €60 million. Barca’s financial troubles are well documented and various financial levers will need to be activated before the Catalans (or the Spanish league) will countenance a move.
The arrival of Sadio Mané in Munich has added fuel to the already well-stoked fire. Is he seen as a potential replacement or was his arrival pre-planned with Lewandowski’s retention already in mind.? The Senegalese forward can play as an out-and-out striker, but he enjoyed most of his success under Jürgen Klopp wider on the left as part of a front three.
Speaking at Mané’s unveiling CEO Oliver Kahn seemed quite clear how he saw the situation. “Lewandowski has a contract until 2023 and we expect to see him on the first day of pre-season. The situation hasn’t changed. Robert has a contract with us for another year and we’re happy when he joins us for the first day of training.”
Kahn would indeed be happy, but ‘Lewi’ certainly would not. Keeping a player against their will could backfire and Lewandowski has already intimated that other big stars may think twice about joining Bayern if they fear any obstructions in their further career movement. “What kind of player will want to go to Bayern knowing that something like this could happen to them? Where are the loyalty and respect then?” he said.
The Clash, as if by coincidence include some Spanish in their famous lyrics. ‘Esta indecisión me molesta’ (This indecision’s bugging me), and ‘Me debo ir o quedarme?’ (Should I cool it, or should I blow?)
In the great Robert Lewandowski poker hand played out to the backing track of the 1980’s punk classic, the question remains to stick or twist?