Arndt’s Analysis: Lewandowski Will Push Bayern to Another Level
The transfer madness about Robert Lewandowski has finally come to an end. After months of speculation, it is now official. The Pole will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season and sign a contract with FC Bayern Munich until June 2019. But what effect will this transfer have? Does this deal really help Bayern? Is Lewandowksi a match with Munich? Carsten Arndt analyses the situation.
The transfer of Robert Lewandowski to Munich wasn’t a big surprise, after all he had given his word to the FCB bosses a long time ago. Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger said the deal was made a year and a half ago. But there are some question marks about the deal.
For one thing, Bayern already have a top forward in their squad already - Mario Mandzukic. Claudio Pizarro completes the club’s striking options in an excellent way. Another thing is Bayern’s manager. Pep Guardiola ‘loves’ midfielders, and often relies on the feisty Mario Götze or Thomas Müller to lead the line. Guardiola had problems with ‘traditional’ forwards like Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Samuel Eto’o at Barcelona.
Nevertheless, the transfer of Robert Lewandowksi is definitely a big gain for FC Bayern. And once again, it was the bosses that made everything right. With the Polish international on board, Germany’s record-holders will get even better.
Although Mandzukic has given a very strong account of himself at Bayern so far, most notably scoring some important goals like in the final of the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski is the more complete and the best forward in the Bundesliga. There is no one who is better at holding up the ball and working out even the most difficult chances in Europe.
Technically he has more to offer than his Croatian counterpart and so he fits perfectly to Bayern’s combination play. “Robert Lewandowski is one of the world´s best strikers. He will strengthen the Bayern squad and push us on even more,” president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said after the signing was announced.
But this does not mean that Mandzukic will be less important for the team. His fighting spirit and his self-assertion are beyond comparison. Especially in matches against more offensive teams with lots of playing ability, the twenty-six-year old could be the first choice next season. Lewandowski might have an advantage at the beginning. “Lewandowski will be ahead by a nose. Sign the top attacker from your biggest rival makes that much clear,” said former Bayern player Dieter Hoeneß.
Looking at Guardiola’s reservations against traditional strikers, Lewandowski has no need to worry. The manager has realised that a big and strong centre forward could be very important in his current system. Before the campaign, he talked about his favourite system with the so-called ‘false nine’, which amongst other things induced Mario Gomez’s departure from Munich. Guardiola had to admit that he had underrated the level of the German Bundesliga though. “I’m surprised by how difficult every game is in the Bundesliga. Every opponent is dangerous. Every one of the opposition run and run and run,” he said, before adding: “The style of playing is completely different than in Spain.” And especially in those tight games you sometimes need a Mandzukic or a Lewandowski, with their strengths in the box, more than the likes of Lionel Messi or Götze. And is exactly for that reason that Guardiola carried on talking to Lewandowski before the signing, where he told him, against contrary reports, that he desperately wants him in the squad.
The question remains about Lewandowski’s character though. After the everlasting farce about his transfer, including Lewandowski accusing Dortmund breach of promise and publicly making clear his desire to change club, the image of the twenty-five-year-old has suffered. There are still some fans believing that the Pole just wants to cash in and Bayern Munich are a springboard for his career after Borussia Dortmund.
But there are two arguments that speak against this theory. For one thing, the Pole got some very lucrative, financially offers – recently Real Madrid supposedly offered an annual salary of 9.5 million euros – all of which he rejected. The other thing is the length of Lewandowski’s contract at Bayern, a long one that spans of five years. Of course modern contracts don’t have the same value as the ones of years ago but it’s still important, especially as Bayern don’t have any release clauses in the contracts they offer.
The player himself is not, one the whole, responsible for this suspect public image. It’s his consultants who wanted to cash in as early as possible. Lewandowski made a promise to the FCB bosses a year and a half ago – and he kept it. That shows his real character.