Robert Lewandowski is one of the most feared strikers in the world. Should Bayern cash in on the Polish superstar, or should they try to keep him? If he leaves, who could replace him?
Big-money transfers and rumours abound in modern football. As a result, there will always be speculation around Robert Lewandowski and his future. This has grown much more ever since Lewandowski hired superagent Pini Zahavi. The rumoured transfer makes even more sense if Zahavi is only managing Robert until the end of transfer window.
Robert Lewandowski agreement with new agent Pini Zahavi only runs till the end of summer transfer window – kicker
— Mark Lovell (@LovellLowdown) March 4, 2018
How crucial is Lewandowski to Bayern?
Since joining the German record champions, Lewandowski developed into much more than a finisher. He has developed his hold-up play, his passing ability to keep an attack going. He has turned into one of the most consistent strikers, scoring 30+ goals in the last 2 league seasons, and is on the mark to do the same this season. The striker plays a major role in the way Bayern attack, with him taking 4.5 shots per game and 1 key pass a game. He also draws fouls 1.5 times every 90 minutes, with most of them in dangerous positions for a scoring opportunity. He also has a 78% of passing which could be improved.
Most importantly, however, Lewandowski scores goals. He scored 42 and 43 goals in 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons respectively. For all the exploits, Lewandowski isn’t short of his failings. He misses fairly easy opportunities which a striker of his calibre must be able to score.
Lewandowski’s primary role has always been to finish his chances and he does that effectively. The conundrum which will arise in the summer is to whether accept the inevitable gargantuan transfer fee that the polish superstar will commend, rebuilding for a more long-term future or keep an unhappy 30-year-old on giant wages, who will decline in future.
Who should replace Lewandowski?
There are more than a few likely names to fill the shoes of the Polish striker.
Mauro Icardi of Argentina is a 25-year-old striker plying his trade for Inter Milan in the Italian Serie A. Trained in Barcelona’s famous La Masía, the controversial Argentine has slowly grown into prominence as one of the most promising strikers in football. At the young age of 25, he has his whole prime playing age available to offer to any club who are willing to match €110 million release clause inserted in his contract. Icardi is not a complete striker like Lewandowski but is a much better finisher. He scored 18 goals in 22 games for an Inter side which is devoid of creativity. He also takes three shots per game while completing one key pass a match. Icardi with much more effective service would be even more lethal than he is currently.
The most popular choice to replace the Polish striker is the recently turned 22-year-old German sensation, Timo Werner. After a groundbreaking campaign in 2016-17, Werner has slowly gone about his business this season. The young German has scored 18 goals in all competitions and has shown he is not a flash in the pan. He takes an average of three shots per game but barely provides key passes for his teammates to get involved in. He has a decent passing accuracy rate of 75% but his positional awareness is average. In my personal opinion, while Werner looks like a very effective player, he is not an effective Lewandowski successor.
Another Argentinian who is playing his trade in Serie A, Paulo Dybala is one of the most exciting footballers to watch. He is more of a creative player than a finisher. Dybala provides around two key passes a game, while also completing two dribbles per 90 minutes. He is an extremely wonderful dribbler who has an amazing vision to pick out his teammates. He also drops deep to pick the ball up to lay off to wingers or the striker ahead.
A wildcard choice would be acquiring the 18-year-old, mercurial talent Jann-Fiete Arp. This would not be a direct Lewandowski succession but a long-term solution. Arp is the most promising young striker in Germany, and dare I say, the world. He has already made his debut in the Bundesliga for Hamburg, scoring twice in 15 appearances. This would be a very wise move to secure in my opinion. Bayern can send him on loan to develop as a footballer and have a successor lined up in near future.
Will Bayern even sell Lewandowski?
While the speculation will always be ripe, Bayern as a club are not likely to sell one of their most valuable player, even if there is a lot of pressure from Zahavi and his entourage for a transfer. Speaking from a personal standpoint, if an offer high enough, around €200 million is made, I would personally let Lewandowski leave the club and reinvest in securing Mauro Icardi and Jann-Fiete Arp to form a chain of succession.