Borussia Dortmund face struggle to keep Lewandowski
Borussia Dortmund face an even tougher fight to retain the services of their 24-year-old striker after his star performance against Real Madrid
Agence France-Presse in Dortmund
His four goals in the Champions League rout of Real Madrid and expiring contract make Borussia Dortmnd striker Robert Lewandowski a hot target for Europe's top clubs, but the German club have vowed to fight to keep their Poland star.
Lewandowski's record haul against Real at Signal Iduna Park in Wednesday's 4-1 first-leg win made him the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final, and left Dortmund on the verge of their first European final since 1997.
The 24-year-old's Dortmund deal expires in June next year, and he has already said he will not be signing an extension, having joined Dortmund in 2010. But his adviser, Maik Barthel, has said Lewandowski will leave this June.
"We are in agreement with a club and have the right to change this summer," Barthel said. "There is a very interesting offer for Robert, which corresponds to the obligations imposed by [Borussia Dortmund] in full and satisfies Robert's demands.
"[Dortmund have] assured us that Robert can change clubs at the end of the season, under these conditions. We will adhere to the agreement, now the clubs must provide clarity."
After Tuesday's announcement that Germany star Mario Götze will join rivals Bayern Munich in July, Dortmund are especially eager to keep Lewandowski and halt the dismantling of the team that won the Bundesliga for the past two seasons.
Götze has actioned a clause in his contract allowing him to join Bayern for a reported €37 million (HK$375 million), however, Lewandowski's agreement has no such condition, amid reports that the Pole is also set to head to Munich.
Bayern took the unusual step yesterday of issuing a statement denying that they already had a deal in place.
"Bayern, as opposed to some reports, has no contract with Robert Lewandowski," they said.
Lewandowski's manager, Cezary Kucharski, has told Polish television that the forward will soon "play at a bigger club", but Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke denied there was any deal to let the star striker go at the end of the season.
"No, that's not true," Watzke said, with the final year of Lewandowski's contract reportedly worth €20 million. "We will discuss everything with Robert."
Watzke has told German daily Bild he made Lewandowski a new offer last week.
"It is true that we have talked about new possibilities. It would be negligent if we did not try to continue to try to keep probably the best striker in Europe," said the Dortmund boss.
"If Robert really has an offer from a Bundesliga club, then I would expect them to talk to us, not only the player. To this day, we have received no offer. He has a contract with us until 2014 with no exit clause. Our explicit desire is that he stays and plays for us until 2014 at the least."
Meanwhile, Lewandowski is staying tight-lipped.
"We still have a few Bundesliga games left, and hopefully two in the Champions League," the 24-year-old said. "That is the most important thing. For anything else, we have to wait. I won't comment further."
In the event of his departure, Dortmund will have their work cut out to find a replacement who can match the 34 goals he has scored this season.
The haul includes 23 in the Bundesliga - where the Poland star has scored in each of his past 12 games, setting a new club record - and he now has 10 in the Champions League.
Lewandowski's four goals against Madrid betters both Ivica Olic's hat-trick in Bayern's 2010 Champions League semi-final win at Lyon in 2010 and Alessandro Del Piero's three for Juventus in 1998.