Robert Lewandowski to join Bayern Munich in 2014

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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.

Sanchez, Mkhitaryan transfer still up in the air

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The player-swap/trade/transfer between Arsenal and Manchester United still appears to be heading towards completion, but it was further delayed Friday.

Multiple reports in England state that while Alexis Sanchez seems set to move to Manchester United, Henrik Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to move the other way, as talks between the player’s agent and Arsenal continue. Mkhitaryan was seen training at Manchester United’s practice facility on Friday, and because the latest delay, both players would be unable to debut for their new teams this weekend after missing the Premier League registration deadline.

[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace Manchester United travels to Burnley, both on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Watch Arsenal live on CNBC, Manchester United live on NBCSN, and both live on NBCSports.com)

The London Evening Standard reports that Mkhitaryan would command a $242,000-per-week salary but that as of Friday morning he had yet to undergo a medical for the transfer. Arsenal reportedly still wants a transfer fee included for Sanchez, while Manchester United would prefer to just swap the two players.

It’s also looking as if that won’t be Arsenal’s only business in the transfer market. While it seemed like a far-fetched rumor at first, the links between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal have only grown stronger in the past few days, and the Gabon international appears to be in the Gunners sights. It appears that Bordeaux’s young striker Malcolm is now off the table.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.