Will Poland’s Robert Lewandowski still be a Borussia Dortmund player next season? The popular young Pole stepped into the limelight last season with a tremendous return of twenty two goals in 34 Bundesliga matches for Dortmund, which took the club to the league title. It set Lewandowski firmly on the transfer radar and a lot of the top European clubs, especially those in the English Premier League, were interested in getting the signature of the 24 year old striker over the summer.
His strong season for Dortmund projected hope for Poland as they were joint-hosts of Euro 2012, the stage set for Lewandowski to be their great hero. However, he returned just one goal in three games as the Poles finished bottom of their group with just two points. Despite strong rumours that English clubs Manchester United and Arsenal were keen to sign him in the summer, he stood ground with the German champions amid a flurry of high profile transactions involving strikers across Europe.
While Dortmund had a slow start in the defence of their title, Lewandowski has returned five goals in 10 Bundesliga matches and has netted twice in four Champions League matches. So things may all sound nice and settled for the Pole, but news has filtered through that Lewandowski has been stalling over a new contract with Dortmund, a club he has been with since his move in 2010 from Lech Poznan. Why?
Is it a case of success having gotten to Lewandowski, with him holding out on his options? He has a tremendous strike rate of 35 goals in 77 matches for Borussia Dortmund but has shelved any contract talks with the club, where he is under contract until 2014. That of course does not mean that he won’t stay put, but is has cast some doubts on his future and has again propelled him into the transfer rumour mills, from which he is never far.
Manchester United have had strong links with Lewandowski, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson himself turning up to watch the Polish striker play. But United signed Robin van Persie in the summer to partner Wayne Rooney, so would there be a place for Lewandowski at Old Trafford? Has that shipped sailed? Perhaps more serious contenders would be European champions Chelsea who are crying out for a prolific finisher, or Spanish giants Real Madrid or a move to German rivals Bayern Munich?
Which would serve to be better suitors for the striker? But is it just postering and stalling from the Pole? Lewandowski himself said back in October that “I haven’t got plans to change clubs.” But the latest stalling of contract talks, of which there is no rush from the player, has prompted Dortmund to state that there are plans in place, should the young Pole decide not to extend a contract with them. Will his delays cause tension at the club, who sound more resigned than they ever have, that he may depart.
Has Lewandowski already ruffled feathers at the German Champions? It may seem a dangerous game to play by him, because if his goals dry up then his future won’t have so many options come next summer. Or is it a calculated move for more immediate plans? Is Lewandowski keeping himself hot property, so that in the January transfer window, some of Europe’s best will coming knocking again because of his current form? It is a dangerous game to play and puts him in a position of pressure, where he has to keep producing to keep his stock high.