He plays as the figurehead of one of the most dynamic teams in world football. A true world-class striker who has established himself in his two years at Westfalonstadion, before impressing in the recent Euro Championships, Robert Lewandowski is understandably courted by Europe’s elite.
This week the Metro reported that Lewandowski had agreed to a £12 million summer transfer to Manchester United. For Lewandowski, a player I proudly discovered on football manager some three years ago, I hope the story is merely conjecture.
It is easy to envisage what United would gain from such a deal. With a strong physical presence, great hold up play, aerial ability and a strong finishing instinct, Lewandowski would bring something completely new to United. A target man in a much more literal sense than any currently at the club, his capture would transcend the Red Devils forward line in to the annals of myth and legend.
The move, however, would not be mutually beneficial.
Even as a fan of United, I am primarily a fan of football, and in moving to Old Trafford, Lewandowski would compromise his own astronomical progression.
In Germany, when fit, Lewandowski starts. As the lone striker in Jurgen Klopp’s delectable 4-2-3-1 that has so spectacularly torn the Champions league asunder this season, Lewandowski is developing at an alarming rate.
A move to Old Trafford would bring unparalleled competition for places. Currently, Alex Ferguson has the unenviable task of balancing a playing roster that includes Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez. Danny Welbeck, an England international, has been reduced to the role of bench warmer.
Admittedly, at 29 years of age van Persie has no more than three more years as an undisputed United starter, and Lewandowski would be a superb replacement. Yet in the mean time, balancing a starting side to include Lewandowski, Rooney and van Persie, whilst protecting a decidedly suspect central core, would be impossible even for Sir Alex. It would be Lewandowski that missed out.
Manchester United’s flaws are patently obvious. With a central midfield that lacks any real dynamism, and a central defensive partnership that has become a liability, areas certainly need to be addressed. The forward line is not one of those areas.
A Lewandowski transfer to United would be akin to purchasing headache tablets for a grazed knee; the antidote doesn’t fit the ailment.
Both players address a flaw in the current Manchester United team. Sneijder would bring the central creativity so lacking since Paul Scholes was in his pomp and Wanyama the strong physicality that hasn’t been seen at Old Trafford since the days of Roy Keane.
Ferguson isn’t a spend thrift. He doesn’t buy player after player, so a Lewandowski signing would be one of maybe two marquee signings. With all due respect to what is a wonderful player, it would be fitting a square peg in a round hole.
In three years time, Lewandowski would be a wonderful signing for Manchester United. There would be an obvious requirement for his services as RVP loses a little of his luster. Rooney by this point will almost certainly be deployed primarily as a central midfielder, and so the need for the Polish international would be great.
To sign Lewandowski this summer would be a luxury that only a team void of imperfections could possibly afford. They don’t need him and he certainly doesn’t need them.
With the altruistic pride for the player I signed for £1.7 million from Lech Poznan in 2009, I want more than that for him. I want the great player he is and the better player Lewandowski will be to go somewhere he can be truly appreciated.
Manchester United cannot yet offer him that.