Worst kept secret comes to light, finally

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Sheesh. Finally. In what's huge news around the world, but not to anyone who follows German football, Robert Lewandowski has signed a pre-contract with Bayern Munich -- the Polish international underwent a medical on Saturday with Bayern and German national team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt. Five years with the Munich club is on the cards, as well as a salary of 11 million euros per year, according to Bild.

- Report: Lewandowski signs five-year Bayern deal
- Uersfeld: Lewandowski exit marks BVB end

As I've spent hours talking about Lewandowski, I'm just happy the deal was finally finished.

The official statement from the club's website:

"Munich, 4 January 2014: FC Bayern have confirmed the signing of 25-year-old Poland international Robert Lewandowski. The striker, who will see out the remainder of his contract with Borussia Dortmund until the end of the season, will join Germany's most successful club on 1 July 2014."

Following the obligatory pre-transfer medical in Munich, Lewandowski signed a five-year contract keeping him at FCB until 30 June 2019. The club was represented by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and board director for sport Matthias Sammer, with the player represented by his agents Cezary Kucharski and Maik Barthel.

"We're very pleased about completing this transfer," commented FC Bayern Munich AG chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world. He will strengthen the Bayern squad and give us another boost. We’re delighted both parties have today signed a five-year contract until 2019."

Borussia Dortmund took a calculated risk after denying Lewandowski his preferred summer move to the treble-winning club, instead electing to keep the Polish striker for the season, and perhaps, trying to convince him to stay on past June next year. But, that was never in the cards for Lewandowski, as his contract allowed him to nix moves anywhere.

Ahhhhh... Lewandowski. Unlike the Mario Goetze switch from Dortmund to Bayern (even though he wanted the move after Dortmund ripped up his release clause), this transfer comes with no pretense, no anything -- there were thinly veiled hints throughout last summer and at the beginning of this season by the Lewandowski and his agents. Say what you want, but one of the most talented strikers went to, arguably, the best squad in the world.

FOR FREE.

From a Bayern perspective -- although I've been annihilated on Saturday on Twitter -- I fail to see where this does not make total business sense. And to anyone who doesn't support Bayern Munich, I ask this: If one of the top five forwards in the world wanted to join your club, would you refuse him? For the benefit of your league? Or, whatever?

The answer is, and would be, categorically: No.

You might argue, that now, the Bundesliga is a one-man team. And you may be right. But if you take Bayern Munich out of the table, it's still an awesome league! Tight and compact, with teams fighting for Europe and avoiding relegation at all costs. With 13 points and 17 matches left between Europe and relegation, the Rueckrunde has a lot of promise.

I have always felt that the Lewandowski-on-a-free transfer in summer was a bad business deal on the Dortmund end. The club was banking on either Champions League or Bundesliga glory this season to make up for lost income last summer. And despite increasing Lewandowski's wages to five million euros this season, he never wanted away to anywhere else. And now, 12 points behind in the league, and down a match, it seems like Europe may be the only route for Dortmund.

On the Bayern Munich side, the question begs to be answered: With Lewandowski coming in, what happens to current first-team striker Mario Mandzukic? Although he's been headlining reports of a summer move to Juventus, the Croatian's agent rubbished the reports telling Tuttosport: "Juventus? Mandzukic is fully focused on Bayern Munich. He has a contract for two more years after this season and he's feeling very good in Munich."

With Bayern's current 4-1-4-1 system, it's hard to argue against Mandzukic's wish of an exit, knowing that a striker who is arguably better will be a part of next season's squad. However, a legacy may be achieved by this Bayern Munich team over the next couple of seasons, one in which more than one "top dog" is completely necessary. But with or without Mandzukic next season, the addition of Lewandowski certainly will keep Bayern barking for a long time.

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