Dortmund are in a precarious situation with Lewandowski, as negotiations over his new contract have not progressed as quickly as the club and its fans would like. Dave Wood of The Daily Mail quotes chief executive Aki Watzke as saying, “We will sit down and discuss what to do next if Robert does not extend his contact.”
Wood also notes that Sir Alex Ferguson was ready to splash £16 million on Lewandowski before he was able to sign Robin van Persie. If the reigning German champs are unable to strike a deal with the Polish international, they would risk letting him leave for free.
Lewandowski is a fantastic player and has proved himself to be one of the top young strikers in Europe. The 23-year-old had 22 goals and eight assists last season in the Bundesliga and has already started on another productive campaign, with five goals and three assists in ten appearances.
His talent and ability cannot be questioned, but his ability to find a place in United’s lineup is unclear. Unless Sir Alex is planning on trying out an experimental five-forward formation, there is no room for Lewandowski in the lineup.
Bringing Van Persie in also caused concerns of overcrowding in the attacking positions, but Wayne Rooney’s ability to take on more of a distributing role has allowed the team to still play at a high level.
In addition, Javier Hernandez’s recent play makes it impossible to bump him down the pecking order for playing time. The 24-year-old Mexican has scored seven times in his last five appearances.
Hernandez is United’s young, up-and-coming striker. Adding another one would be at best wasteful and at worst damaging to morale. Lewandowski’s arrival would also ensure that Danny Welbeck rarely sees the pitch in meaningful matches, and the young star would grow increasingly more discouraged.
Even if Sir Alex is able to pull off an impossible stroke of managerial genius—if anyone could do it, it would be him—and find a way to keep all his forwards content, this would still be an unnecessary headache. That £16 million should be spent to shore up other positions.
Nemanja Vidic’s second major injury in two seasons and Rio Ferdinand’s age force the need to add depth at centre-back, and the likelihood of Nani’s exit seems greater every day.
United’s money would be much better spent on a back-line player or a winger.
In addition, the team still does not have a dominant ball-winner in the middle of the pitch, and David De Gea’s inconsistency may even warrant a reevaluation of the team’s options at goalkeeper. These are surely secondary concerns, but adding another striker is still a less pressing need for United than exploring options at either of these positions.
While Lewandowski is a fantastic player, he will not be cheap, and the Red Devils have absolutely no need for another centre forward.