Robert Lewandowski to join Bayern Munich in 2014


The race for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has finished.

Looks like he’s heading to Bayern Munich. But not for another season.

In a dramatic twist in one of the summer’s lengthiest transfer saga’s, Lewandowski will remain at Dortmund before joining Bayern next summer… for free.

Dortmund’s head coach Jurgen Klopp announced Lewandowski’s intentions. “I think it is a known fact that Robert is going to play for Bayern after the upcoming season,” he told Welt am Sonntag. “Now the only question is how to shape the time until then.”

While today, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says his club have “tried to negotiate with Dortmund” this summer but that BVB weren’t interested in selling Lewandowski. Now, as Rummenigge also confirmed, the Polish international striker will leave for absolutely nothing next summer when he is out of contract.

Bad business? Stubborn? Or just sick and tired of selling their best young talent to Bayern?

These are questions that will be thrown Dortmund’s way as fans aim to make sense of the situation concerning Lewandowski.

The 24-year-old striker has wanted to leave for quite some time, he has been a star for Dortmund not just last season but the season before that. Lewandoski has scored 46 goals in 65 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and his overall tally for Dortmund stands at 75 in 139 games.

(MORE: Highlights as Lewandowski  explodes, scores four against Madrid as Dortmund win 4-1)

He burst onto everyone’s radar with his performances during the 2012-13 Champions League campaign, with his four goals against Real Madrid in the semifinal first leg propelling his side to the Wembley showdown with Munich.

Now that clubs in England and Spain have stopped chasing Lewandowski and he is on the move to Bayern, can we blame him for wanting out? Not really.

Dortmund have a young, exciting squad of players who are hungry to prove themselves. They reached the Champions League final as huge underdogs last season and hugely overachieved, some might say.

(MORE: Dortmund in a pinch as Lewandowski rejects Real Madrid offer)

But was last season as good as it gets for Dortmund? With midfield sensation Mario Götze already joining Bayern and Lewandowski on the way, Dortmund have to drastically change their business model if they want to keep hold of their best players. Lewandowski’s wages of $2.25 million per year are miserly compared to the salaries on offer at Bayern, that is one of the biggest reasons why Bayern will continue to cherry-pick the top talent from their Bundesliga rivals.

Where Lewandowski will fit into the Bayern squad is an intriguing question, but Mario Gomez left for Fiorentina yesterday and Croatian forward Mario Mandžukić will be Lewandowski’s only main rival for the central striker’s role.

So, Dortmund didn’t sell their star man this time. They have missed out on a transfer fee but were unwilling to deal with Bayern as relations between the clubs continue to be strained following the handling of Götze’s transfer.

Will BVB’s stubborn nature stop them from keeping up with the giants of European soccer? Unless they make smart business decisions and increase their wage bill then inevitably they’ll be left behind.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.