After finishing as the top goalscorer with Polish league winners Lech Poznan in 2009/10, Robert Lewandowski moved to Borussia Dortmund for a fee of around €4.5 million. At the time, he was also being pursued by Genoa and Blackburn, but the volcanic ash cloud of 2010 scuppered his travel plans and directed his fate towards the Bundesliga.
The Polish striker has since scored 44 goals in Germany's top flight and was an integral component of Borussia Dortmund's domestic double-winning side of last season.
Much to the ire of Juergen Klopp, however, rumors of a transfer elsewhere have been abundant for many months.
Lewandowski has thus far refused to renew a contract that expires in 2014, and Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc this week confirmed the inevitable news that he will leave (via The Express):
"Robert [Lewandowski] will not renew his contract, he is either [leaving] this summer or in the summer of 2014," said Zorc.
With agent Cezary Kucharsky also implying that his client has already decided when and where he will go, here are the Pole's five most likely destinations.
The general feeling on the transfer grapevine is that Lewandowski is most likely to move to Die Borussen's title rivals Bayern Munich, either for a fee in the region of €20-30 million this summer or for free in 2014.
Presumably, Dortmund have to weigh up the cost of cashing in and strengthening an opponent in the next campaign or losing out on a transfer fee the following season.
Earlier this month, an Italian source even claimed that an £18 million deal had already been agreed between the two sides, making the striker Pep Guardiola's first signing. This speculation was backed up by former Bayern legend Lothar Matthaus, who believed the fee to be in the region of "£20-25 million."
Bayern, however, have been pretty dismissive of the rumours. Club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told German newspaper Bild (via The Guardian): "We have no intention of negotiating with Borussia Dortmund over the transfer of Robert Lewandowski."
Chairman Uli Hoeness backed up this sentiment, insisting the club already have "three top-class strikers".
Perhaps Die Roten showed they do not need Lewandowski with their DFB Pokal victory over Borussia Dortmund this week, their first in the past six attempts.
Football magazine Four Four Two believe Lewandowski "dreams" of playing in England, while Manchester United are said to have a longstanding interest in the Poland international.
The Red Devils reportedly lined up a sizable bid last summer but ended up signing some young upstart named Robin van Persie instead.
Prior to the January deadline, several British tabloids inferred that an £18 million deal for this summer is all-but completed, with the striker set to earn £80,000 per week—double his wage in Germany.
Lewandowski's agent insisted Manchester United were still in the hunt for his signature a few days ago, but with Van Persie in the ranks and plenty of attacking options, Old Trafford could be a curious choice for both parties.
After his impressive displays in the Bundesliga and Euro 2012, Lewandowski was linked with a £20 million transfer battle that would bring him to either Stamford Bridge or White Hart Lane over the summer.
Obviously, the move never materialised, and there have been few substantiated reports of Andre Villas-Boas' interest since. However, a move to Spurs would certainly make sense.
They are a team on the rise with a genuine chance of playing Champions League football next season, and Lewandowski would undoubtedly be first-choice striker.
Also, Gareth Bale's departure looks inevitable, which could generate anything up to £50 million. This could easily bankroll proven-goalscorer Lewandowski in addition to a world-class midfield replacement for the Welshman.
When Robin van Persie looked set to leave the Emirates last summer, rumors were rife that Lewandowski was targeted as a potential replacement.
It was reported that the Gunners had been scouting the Polish striker throughout the season, which begs the question: How hard does a scout have to work to find a Bundesliga hero who scored the opening goal of Euro 2012?
Regardless, Lewandowski would still be an excellent signing in the closed season. This week, Arsenal announced a £17.8 million profit and over £120 million of cash reserves.
Pressure to bring in world class talent has never been higher, and a club with two midfielders as joint top scorers could certainly benefit from an out-and-out striker like Lewandowski.
As the opening scorer in Borussia Dortmund's thrilling Champions League win over Real Madrid in October, Lewandowski will certainly be on the Spanish club's radar.
There has been no specific chatter of a transfer to the Spanish capital, but the Pole would certainly be viewed as an upgrade to Karim Benzema, who has scored only six league goals this season (and, by the sound of today's news, could be in jail soon!).
After such a disappointing domestic campaign, Madrid president Florentino Perez will be looking to make a dent in the club's transfer kitty. If they fail to land Gareth Bale, a name like Lewandowski may satiate fans looking for some new high-profile goalscoring talent.