Manchester City ‘s pursuit of Erling Haaland could take an unexpected twist, one that would upset Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp in the process.
Haaland has been on every elite European club’s radar since his break out at Red Bull Salzburg, before joining star-makers Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 and going on to score 69 goals in 68 games.
And with a reported £68million release clause set to become active next summer, Pep Guardiola and co are believed to be in the running for his signature in order to fill their striking void, via a mega-money transfer deal.
But after missing out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo this year, the Citizens will be keen to avoid being in one-track-mind mode, and an alternative to Haaland has emerged – ironically in the man he could push out if he chooses a move that would come as no surprise to Dortmund supporters.
Bayern Munich talisman Robert Lewandowski – who Klopp previously described as the best player he has ever worked with – is out of contract at the Allianz Arena in 2023 and the German giants have been tagged with interest in Haaland as a long-term replacement.
There is a clear precedent in the Bundesliga for Bayern to sweep up any top talent available in their native land (see: this summer, where they took RB Leipzig ‘s manager, captain and star defender).
Lewandowski himself moved from Dortmund to Bavaria in 2014 for free, with former team-mates Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels doing the same either side of his switch.
And with the potential well-trodden route on the table, Bild claim that agent Pini Zahavi views City as a possible destination for Lewandowski.
This domino effect would leave Bayern happy at finding a worthy heir to the Polish striker’s crown and Guardiola pleased to have a true No.9 whom he has worked with to great success before, when he was in charge of the reigning German champions.
Klopp, meanwhile, would surely rue such an outcome.
Reports from Sky Sports News in August claimed Lewandowski would like a new challenge after 11 years plying his trade in the Bundesliga, opening the door for a successor.
Dortmund, of course, would like Haaland to stay and not strengthen a rival.
Although much older, Hummels was admired across the continent but ultimately chose Bayern in 2016.
The 32-year-old returned to the Westfalenstadion after three trophy-laden years and is someone that Haaland could confide in regarding his options.
Publicly, the defender sent a message to his team-mate that “the grass is not always greener on the other side” which could temper a leap to the Premier League.
So, as a halfway house, Haaland may opt to stay in Germany at his still tender age if Lewandowski does indeed seek pastures new.
Would Lewandowski be a smart alternative for Man City? Comment your thoughts below.
The 33-year-old was asked about his future last month after picking up the European Golden Shoe for the 20-21 domestic season, in which he scored 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games, breaking the late Gerd Muller’s long-standing record.
“I don’t have to prove myself in another league,” Lewandowski stated.
“I can compete with the best from other leagues in the Champions League.
“I am 100 per cent focused on Bayern Munich, I don’t think about anything else but my team.”
12 years Haaland’s senior, City will likely still be keener on the young sensation, represented by Mino Raiola, but the Pole would be a fine alternative, certainly in the short-term for Guardiola, who waxed lyrically about Lewandowski in 2016.
“He is the most professional player I have ever met,” the ex-Bayern boss noted.
“In his head, he thinks about the right food, sleep and training: 24 hours a day.
“He is always there, never injured, because he focuses on these things.
“He always knows what is important to be in the best condition.”
After previously dealing with the recently-departed Sergio Aguero ‘s fitness struggles, Guardiola would surely enjoy linking up with Lewandowski again.