None of this makes any sense. Barcelona still owes more than $1 billion. It will have to reduce its annual salary by $144 million to meet La Liga’s strict financial rules. It has announced the signing of two players it was unable to register while preparing the budget. And somehow Barcelona have gone ahead and decided to spend $50 million on the player who turns 34 next month, has just one year left on his contract and is desperate to leave his former club.
That Robert Lewandowski is a brilliant footballer cannot be doubted. He has scored 312 goals in the last 12 seasons in the Bundesliga. In 78 Champions League games for Bayern Munich, he scored 69 times (including two against Barcelona in last season’s group stage and one against Barça in the famous 8-2 quarterfinal in 2020). He is the epitome of a modern centre-forward, as he is fast, happy dropping deep and attacking from distance and is a killer in front of goal. He can head, and he can press. If he hadn’t been around Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he would have won several Ballons d’Or. As it is, he has won the last two FIFA Best Men’s Player awards.
And he is a young 33. He is very fit. His wife, a well-known nutritionist, has him eat breakfast before dinner, which apparently helps the body burn fat better. As evidence goes, Lewandowski may seem like a convincing case study. Age hits all players eventually – although Ronaldo began to decline in his mid-30s – but Lewandowski should be a few years older somewhere near his peak. In his eight years at Bayern, he missed only 23 games due to injury.
But Lewandowski’s behavior was not the problem. When Joan Laporta replaced Josep Bartomeu as president of Barcelona in 2020, his main task seemed to be to fix the club’s finances. Barcelona have been blessed with talented young players – Gavi, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Sergiño Dest, Riqui Puig among them – who seem to be able to provide cheap, exciting and local starts that could disrupt a club like a budget. it was fixed. At worst, the family may have been sold. When Ferran Torres, who is now 22 years old, was taken from Manchester City for €55 million ($62 million at the time) with the possibility of going up to €65 million, it seemed like a very ambitious move, but based on the same philosophy: Buy small. ono, set it up, and then sell it.
Lewandowski does not fit that pattern. They will have no resale value. He has done well at Barcelona, but it is hard to see how a signing of his heft can be seen as a priority given the club’s financial instability. Barça can already choose players from Ansu Fati, Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembélé (the latter’s contract has just been extended, releasing him would have been an easy way to reduce wages), and this. they had yet to agree a $58 million deal for Leeds United’s Brazilian star, Raphinha. And Lewandowski arrives, Barcelona is trying to force Frenkie de Jong to leave, even though he owes $17 million in wages that he stopped during the pandemic (and it is not known that de Jong is the only player at this time).
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Barcelona seems to know what this looks like, especially if you believe the story The world that Lewandowski’s fee is $60 million, Barcelona agrees to pay additional money to force the contract to return the silent payment of $10 million.
This summer looks like a big gamble for Barcelona. Perhaps another argument can be raised that Lewandowski is as close to a sure thing as any transfer. Its acquisition reinforces the message of business as usual. But in the midst of all the spending this summer, it seems unfair. Barcelona hopes to be able to finance the investment by selling shares of future TV revenues and about half of the company it set up to promote its products. Borrowing futures, however, is a very risky option. It sounds like Barcelona is taking action on some kind of European Super League that will soon be established (with a case going through the European courts to test whether UEFA is abusing its governing role), which, in theory, could provide a remedy. to his financial problems and causing any problems.
And this seems like a risk for Lewandowski, too. His relationship with Bayern—always business-like rather than warm—has become increasingly strained. He wanted out, and often spoke of his desire to play in La Liga. The Clásicos featuring him and Karim Benzema would boast a new flair. But he must know how dangerous this is and what he was forced into. And maybe that’s part of the lure. After eight years of easy league titles at Bayern, perhaps the challenge of resurrecting Barcelona is what they need.
On the field, Barcelona are building a team that will be interesting to watch this season. After all, melting is very close.
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