DORTMUND, Germany: His four goals in the Champions League rout of Real Madrid and expiring contract make striker Robert Lewandowski a hot target for Europe’s top clubs but Borussia Dortmund now face a fight to keep their Poland star.
His record haul against Real at Signal Iduna Park in Wednesday’s 4-1 first-leg win made him the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final and left Dortmund on the verge of their first Euro final since 1997.
The 24-year-old’s Dortmund deal expires in June 2014 and he has already said he will not be signing an extension, having joined Borussia in 2010, but his advisor, Maik Barthel, has said Lewandowski will be gone by the close season.
“We are in agreement with a club and have the right to change this summer,” Barthel told Sport Bild online.
“There is a very interesting offer for Robert, which corresponds to the obligations imposed by BVB in full and satisfies Robert’s demands.
“BVB has assured us that Robert can change clubs at the end of the season, under these conditions.
“We will adhere to the agreement, now the clubs must provide clarity.”
After Tuesday’s announcement that Germany star Mario Goetze will join rivals Bayern Munich in July, Dortmund are especially eager to keep “Lewo” and halt the dismantling of the team which won the Bundesliga for the last two seasons.
Goetze has actioned a clause allowing him to join Bayern for a reported 37 million euros ($48.2 million, £32 million) but Lewandowski’s contract has no such condition.
Lewandowski’s manager, Cezary Kucharski, has told Polish television that the forward will soon “play at a bigger club”, but Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke denied there was any deal to let the Poland star go at the end of the season.
“No, that’s not true. We have neither made him an offer, nor received one from any club,” Watzke assured the German sports news agency SID — an AFP subsidiary — with the final year of Lewandowski’s contract reportedly worth 20 million euros.
“We will discuss everything with Robert.”
Lewandowski himself remained tight-lipped on the matter.
“We still have a few Bundesliga games left and hopefully two in the Champions League,” he said.
“That is the most important thing. For anything else we have to wait. I won’t comment further.”
In the event of his departure, Dortmund will have their work cut out to find a replacement who can match the 34 goals he has scored this term.
The haul includes 23 in this season’s undesliga, where the Poland star has scored in each of his last 12 league games, setting a new club record, and he now has 10 in the Champions League.
Lewandowski’s quartet betters both Ivica Olic’s hat-trick in Bayern’s 2010 Champions League semi-final win at Lyon in 2010 and Alessandro Del Perio’s triple for Juventus in 1998.
He finished one short of Lionel Messi’s Champions League record of five in a single match, against Leverkusen in 2012, while he matched Bayern’s Mario Gomez four goals, in last season’s 7-0 rout of Basel in the last 16.
A footballing nomad, the 24-year-old has already played for five clubs, working his way up from Polish fifth-tier side Delta Warsaw in 2004.
He proved his goal-scoring mettle at first division side Lech Poznan in 2008-09 with a table-topping 20 goals, then 18 in 2009-2010, as Lech won their first title in 17 years.
In June 2010 he signed a four-year deal with Dortmund for a Polish record fee of 4.5 million euros (US$5.8m).
After a first season in the shadow of Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios, he took his chance when injury ruled the latter out and the nickname “Lewangoalski” was born.