Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, the gifted top scorer often cited among Bayern Munich’s legends, wants to leave the Bundesliga champion and will not renew his contract, the German club’s sports director Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed on Saturday.
But Salihamidzic ruled out letting the 33-year-old go this summer, echoing a statement from club President Herbert Hainer amid speculation that Lewandowski could join Barcelona in the offseason.
“I have spoken with Lewa. He told me that he doesn’t want to accept our offer to renew the contract and that he would like to leave the club,” Salihamidzic told Sky TV ahead of Munich’s league season ender at Wolfsburg.
He added that Lewandowski told him “he wants to do something different” in the future.
Salihamidzic ruled out that they would let Lewandowski go this summer even though they would not get a transfer fee for the two-time World Footballer of the Year in 2023.
“Lewa has a contract until summer next year. That’s a fact,” Salihamidzic said. Asked what must happen to change this view, he insisted, “I am not dealing with this because our attitude was always clear.”
Earlier Saturday, the Sport1 portal reported that Lewandowski’s agent Pini Zahavi had reached a verbal agreement with Barcelona over a summer move with both parties looking into a three-year contract for the striker.
Lewandowski has been at Bayern since 2014 after four years at Borussia Dortmund, has won every title on offer with them and has bettered several Bundesliga scoring records.
According to Spanish reports, it would depend on the transfer fee whether debt-ridden Barca could afford to sign him.
The Sport paper said that Bayern have allegedly lowered their demand to 35-40 million euros ($36.4-41.7 million) while Mundo Deportivo said that the fee could rise if other European top clubs would also be interested, maybe making it impossible for Barca to get him.
Uncertainty lingers over whether Barcelona will have much financial clout in the transfer window, as they attempt to come through an economic crisis that has hit Camp Nou hard.
Barcelona coach Xavi had insisted age would not be a barrier when Barcelona rebuild in the close season as the linked Catalan giants continue to be with the 33-year-old.
Lewandowski, who has scored 49 goals in 45 games for Bayern this season, could be the player that allows Barcelona to bridge the gap to Real Madrid next season.
Barcelona have moved far closer to Madrid’s standards since Xavi was appointed in November, after a dismal start to the campaign under Ronald Koeman, but Los Blancos have carried off the La Liga title with a comfortable cushion.
In light of the Lewandowski reports, Xavi was asked whether he could sign veteran players and was adamant he would, contingent on whether such stars kept themselves in good shape.
“I signed Dani Alves at 38,” Xavi said. “It’s not age, it’s performance. Players take care of themselves so much and every year they are more professional.
“Ibrahimovic, Modric, Dani Alves, they all have a very high performance at important clubs. Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi too. Age is not a priority. If it improves us, that’s the important thing.”