Robert Lewandowski: An Arsenal Transfer Would Make Sense for the Polish Striker
With the temperature rising in July, the transfer market has also started to heat up. Though there have not been many moves this summer, the speculation over Robin van Persie's future has continued to cast a cloud over transfer speculation.
After van Persie announced that he was not going to re-sign a contract to remain at Arsenal, a barrage of rumors have swept across the Internet with clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus all linked to the Dutch striker.
In the last several days, rumors have subsided involving van Persie, though many people expect him to leave.
The potential departure of van Persie has caused more rumors speculating who will replace last year's PFA winner at the Emirates. Names like Stevan Jovetic and Victor Moses have been linked to the Gunners, but one name that has gained more recent popularity is Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.
After finding himself with little playing time two years ago for Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski was afforded a chance to start following an injury to Lucas Barrios. Lewandowski did not disappoint, finishing third overall in goals scored with 22, which allowed Dortmund to retain their league title.
Lewandowski also helped Dortmund win the DFB-Pokal and scored the only winning goal for Die Borussen in the Champions League.
What Lewandowski did in Germany made him into a rising star. Lewandowski became the face of the Polish national team heading into Euro 2012, which was going to become the biggest international sporting event in Poland's history.
During the opening match at Euros, Lewandowski powered a header for the opening goal of the tournament. Though Poland failed to advance from their group, Lewandowski's status in the football world continued to rise. In fact, then-Poland manager Franciszek Smuda linked the striker to a Manchester United transfer before the start of the tournament.
Considering the depth that Man United have at striker, even with Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen departing Old Trafford this summer, it was a bit of a shock to see such a claim made by a manager like Smuda. But that link has only caused more speculation over Lewandowski's future.
With the news about van Persie's apparent departure, a player like Lewandowski could be poised to make a splash with Arsenal.
Though he is five years younger than van Persie, Lewandowski displayed many intangibles that will be useful for whatever club he may play for next season.
Lewandowski contributed eight assists last season (second on Dortmund) and also earned 78 fouls, more than any other player on the club. Lewandowski also took more shots (119) and shots on target (55) than any other player in the German top flight. This shooting ability averaged a goal every 130 minutes for Lewandowski, the sixth highest in the Bundesliga.
Granted, van Persie did have better numbers than Lewandowski in most categories, but we must also remember that the Dutch striker played the best football of his career. Though his stats were convincing, it is unlikely that van Persie will ever have such a phenomenal campaign again.
Meanwhile, this was the first full season for Lewandowski as a starter in Germany. With a side filled with other offensive stars like Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa and Jakub Błaszczykowski, Lewandowski's play continued to improve with the progression of the season.
In what were Dortmund's two most important matches of this past season against Bayern in the Bundesliga and in the DFB-Pokal final, he scored four goals. Without Lewandowski's efforts in those two matches, it is unlikely that Die Schwarzgelben would have completed a double.
A key feature of Dortmund's formation from this past season was employing Lewandowski as a lone striker. This proved to work well for Lewandowski, whose physique and awareness were key attributes for his game.
During this past season, van Persie primarily worked as a lone striker with Arsenal. Though Arsenal may change that philosophy with new forwards Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud joining the club, Lewandowski will still get plenty of chances to score, regardless of what formation may be utilized.
Arsenal's attack was fantastic this past season, scoring the third most goals from open play in the league (54), along with a league-leading nine goals from fast breaks.
If Lewandowski were to make a move to Arsenal, his teammate from the Polish national team, Wojciech Szczęsny, would already be there. This would help Lewandowski out in the difficult transition to English life.
Though it is feasible that van Persie may not leave Arsenal this summer, Lewandowski should be the person that they target if their disgruntled striker leaves.
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