Lahm looks to leave Bayern after talks stall

April 22, 2008

BERLIN, April 22 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich have withdrawn the offer of a new contract to Philipp Lahm after failing to reach agreement with the Germany defender, who said on Tuesday he was eager to move abroad.

Lahm's existing deal runs out at the end of next season and Bayern said in a statement that talks on an extension had not been successful.

Bayern must now decide whether to sell him at the end of this season or risk losing him on a free transfer in 2009.

Lahm, 24, who scored the first goal of the 2006 World Cup and is a regular for Germany, has been linked with Barcelona in local media reports.

'My plan is to leave Bayern before I'm past my peak,' Lahm said in an interview with Stern magazine.

'I played for two years at Stuttgart and I'm in my third year at Bayern, the biggest German club. The logical next step is to go abroad.'

Asked if he could leave at the end of this season, Lahm said: 'That's quite possible'.

Bayern, who won the German Cup on Saturday and have a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga with five matches to play, are already working on plans for next season.

On Tuesday they agreed to sell forward Jan Schlaudraff to Hanover 96 for an undisclosed fee.

The 24-year-old Schlaudraff broke into Germany's team last season but since moving to Bayern before the start of this campaign he has featured in only six league games.