In late winter, when news of Robert Lewandowski’s possible move to Bayern Munich surfaced, Borussia Dortmund execs floated the idea that, some things being worth more than money, their superstar number nine wouldn’t be sold to Munich for any price. That was before his four-goal game against Real Madrid, the hints for Jupp Heynckes and others at Bayern dropped about the move, and the claims from Lewandowski himself that personal terms were done.
Dortmund’s stubborn stance, erected in the face of economic realities, sounds romantic but naive, the world of player power and the need to get a return on investment making BVB’s platform impractical. Yet here we are, in the summer window, and Dortmund have reiterated their stance, with club president Hans-Joachin Watzke providing the most unequivocal statement yet:
“Lewandowski will definitely not go to Bayern in 2013,” Watke said in an interview with the German sports paper Bild. “This is final.”
That would mean Lewandowski, if he holds firm to his insistence on going to Bayern, would play out one, final, disgruntled season at the Westfalenstadion before presumably moving south next summer. For free.
And if there’s any doubt as to Lewandowski’s intentions:
“We have been in agreement with the new club for some time now,” Lewandowski told Bild last week.
“I have informed the people in charge at Dortmund and I assume that all will now be cleared up and I can join the club of my wish this summer.
“This would be the best thing for all sides,” he said. “Dortmund are a fantastic club that will always have a special place in my heart. However, I am looking for a new challenge in the future.”
If there are things that transcend money — if Dortmund do feel those no dollar figure that would justify Lewandowski’s sale to their rivals — BVB’s stance makes sense. Perhaps Lewandowski, over the next 11 months, can be convinced to change course. Or maybe he will finally do something to make those Manchester United rumors plausible, allowing Dortmund to move him outside of the Bundesliga. It wouldn’t the first time a pro athlete changed their mind.
But if this is less about a deep, philosophical believe than an emotion reaction to losing Lewandowski and Mario Götze to their rivals, Borussia Dortmund’s only hurting themselves. Transfers as expensive as Lewandowski’s are rarely efficient deals for the buyers, so if BVB is going to take advantage of anybody’s willingness to pay a premium for a player, it may as well be Bayern, lest their rivals merely give a premium price to another club for a similar striker.
Or worse: Lewandowski spends a year playing scorned – like the club’s keeping him from his dream. His play diminishes BVB while Bayern continues to excel, and at the end of the season, he moves to Munchen without one euro hitting the Dortmund bank account. It’s a Bayern supporter’s dream scenario.
Some things are certainly worth more than money, but that doesn’t mean turning down money will make you happy. Unless Dortmund feels Lewandowski’s the type of player apt to change his mind (something that would be inconsistent with his well-managed career path), they need to move on.