Former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has called into question the club’s pursuit of Bayern Munich marksman Robert Lewandowski, believing a transfer for the ageing star doesn’t make financial sense.
The Catalan giants are thought to be the front-runners for Lewandowski’s signature this summer after the Polish forward publicly expressed his desire to seek a new challenge away from Bavaria after eight trophy-laden years with the club.
“My story with Bayern has come to an end,” Lewandowski stated last month, and now talk of a move to La Liga has been gaining considerable traction. However, former head coach Koeman has now denounced the club’s plans to bring in last year’s Ballon d’Or Striker of the Year.
“Lewandowski is a great player, a regular goalscorer, but he is of a certain age,” Koeman told Esport3.
“35 years old? I have my doubts about paying 50 or 60 million for a player, in addition to his salary.
“Maybe he has two years left. I would have many doubts about signing him or not sign him.”
Koeman’s comments come after he had a less-than-succesful transfer policy at the Camp Nou when it came to forwards, with Luis Suarez revealing he was dumped by the Dutch coach in a now infamous 40-second phone call, before the Uruguayan went on to join Atletico Madrid and scored 21 league goals as Diego Simeone’s men won La Liga the following campaign.
More recently Luuk de Jong joined last summer on loan from Sevilla, but the Dutch forward netted only six goals across 2021/22. In fact, Barca’s top scorer, Memphis Depay, bagged only 12 league goals, a far cry from the halcyon days of Lionel Messi’s obligatory 30+ tallies.
Suarez even hit out at De Jong following his slow start to La Liga last season. The Uruguayan offered a sarcastic response when asked about his successor’s Camp Nou form, to which he responded back in October: “As the coach says, he’s better than Neymar,” with his comments making reference to Koeman’s previous claim that “when there’s a cross, Luuk is more dangerous than Neymar”.
De Jong scored six league goals in 2021/22, five of which were headers, a joint-record for the most netted by a Barca player in a single La Liga season, emphasising his aerial prowess. But, it should be noted that Lewandowski has netted 30 headers across Europe’s top five leagues in the last five seasons, the most of any player, making Koeman’s comments all the more striking when it comes to the Polish forward.