Manchester United: Do They Really Need Robert Lewandowski?

Laura GreeneFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2013

Manchester United: Do They Really Need Robert Lewandowski?

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    Robert Lewandowski is a wanted man.

    The Borussia Dortmund striker has a year remaining on his current contract and is being hungrily courted by almost every A-list team in European football.

    Manchester City and Manchester United, according to the Manchester Evening News; Bayern Munich, according to The Mirror; Chelsea, according to The Express; Real Madrid, according to The Telegraph; and Arsenal, according to the Daily Mail, have all been linked with the 24-year-old hitman.

    Manchester United have long been admirers of the Polish forward, and The Guardian reports Sir Alex Ferguson as saying that United will make room to accommodate him:

    "If the right player comes along you have to be prepared to make a move. I can find room for anybody here as long as they have the required quality.”

    But do United really need to sign the coveted striker? While it’s true that it would be an almighty coup for the Old Trafford side, there are also reasons to suggest United should look elsewhere this summer.

    Here are the top reasons for and against United's interest in Lewandowski.

For: Firepower

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    Robin van Persie’s addition to Manchester United was a masterstroke.  Ultimately it was his goals that won United their 20th Premier League crown.

    However, the Dutchman turns 30 in August and cannot be relied on forever. And it seems that an unhappy Wayne Rooney may not be at Old Trafford next season, according to this report from the Daily Mail.

    In Javier Hernandez, United have someone who can make a great impact as a substitute but who is arguably far from being the finished article. 

    And Danny Welbeck, who is another option up-front, has had a poor return of one goal from 14 Premier League appearances this term.

    Let’s turn, then, to Lewandowski, whose lethal prowess as a goalscorer cannot be disputed.

    In the 2012/13 season he has notched 23 goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga. To date, he’s added a further 10 goals and two assists in this season’s Champions League.

    Four of Lewandowski’s Champions League strikes came against Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg at the Westfalenstadion. According to UEFA.com, he is the first player to ever score four goals in a European Cup semi-final. Against Jose Mourinho’s team, no less.

    Dortmund’s No. 9 warmed up for this feat by scoring in the 12 successive league games that he played leading up to the Real Madrid clash, as WhoScored.com has recorded.

    Lewandowski would slot in nicely to United’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, and Van Persie has the ability to drop back and play an attacking midfielder role. The stats don’t lie—Lewandowski would be a superb asset for Manchester United.

Against: United Need Strengthening Elsewhere

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    A striker who scores 20-plus goals per season is attractive, of course. But adding Lewandowski to the Manchester United ranks could be viewed as a luxury signing. One that United don’t necessarily need.

    Ask almost any Manchester United fan, and they are sure to agree that recruits are sorely needed in midfield and defence, not up-front, where Robin van Persie has put away 25 Premier League goals this season.

    With Paul Scholes set to retire at the end of the current campaign, Ryan Giggs nearing 40 and Michael Carrick as the only standout performer in the center of the park, United need creativity and a leader in midfield. 

    The Red Devils also need to shore up their defence, with age and injuries taking their toll on Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand who are 31 and 34, respectively.

    At 32, Patrice Evra will not have many years left at Old Trafford, and while the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rafael and Jonny Evans are growing in stature at the club, an experienced defender would add stability to the team.

For: The Asking Price

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    Lewandowski has a market value of just over £23 million, according to Transfermarkt

    In football’s current climate, where players like Cristiano Ronaldo are worth an estimated £88 million and 29-year-old Fernando Torres is still worth an approximate £24.5 million, the fee for Lewandowski is relatively cheap. Especially when considering the return Manchester United would get from goals and potential sell-on fees.

    Perhaps Borussia Dortmund would be unwise not to cash in on their valuable asset this summer.

    The Daily Star reports that Lewandowski has refused to sign an extension to his current contract and, if he stays until next summer, the Bundesliga club may have to face letting him leave for free.

Against: The Lure of Other Clubs

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    Transfer rumours this week have suggested that Manchester United may have already lost out on signing Lewandowski.

    An article in The International Business Times reports on an alleged meeting between the Polish striker and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who hopes to bring him to the Bernabeu.

    While the Daily Mail suggests that Manchester United have been pipped by Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals, Bayern Munich.

    Elsewhere the Express claims that a deal has already been done with Bayern Munich.

    And Lewandowski’s agent, Maik Barthel, has been quoted in The Guardian, apparently confirming that his charge will not be coming to the Premier League this summer:

    "I can tell you only one thing – Robert is interested in the future coming to the Premier League. The Premier League is very interesting for Robert. How long is the future, I cannot say to you. I think this summer is not the future."

    Perhaps there are just too many clubs interested in signing Lewandowski, and with new manager David Moyes in charge at Manchester United, focus should shift elsewhere.

     

     

For: His Age

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    At 24 years old, Lewandowski is yet to reach his peak. 

    Were Manchester United to sign him this summer on a minimum three- or four-year contract, they would be sure to witness his best years on a football pitch.

    Imagine what the next few seasons will bring for a player who has already been voted Poland’s Player of the Year in 2011, has been the leading scorer in each of Poland’s three football divisions and currently occupies second in the Bundesliga top scorers chart for 2012/13.

Against: Kagawa and Lewandowski—No Love Lost

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    Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa was signed from Borussia Dortmund last summer.

    The attacking midfielder looks set to build upon the five goals he has scored for Manchester United in his first season at the club.

    Link-up play between the two former teammates is an exciting prospect as, between them, they scored 35 goals and had 22 assists in the 2011/12 Bundesliga season.

    But Kagawa is no fan of Lewandowski. In fact, comments that he appeared to make about the Polish striker, reported by Goal.com, were thought to have ushered in his departure from the Westfalenstadion.

    Lewandowski's game is purely focused on trying to score himself, rather than playing together with his teammates,

    He never looks around him for players who are in a better position than him. That's why I hardly get the ball from him. There's nothing you can do about that, though. That's simply the type of player he is.

    He has scored 20 times, and I have 13 goals to my name. The only difference is that he doesn't cooperate with other team members.

    With David Moyes taking over from Ferguson as Manchester United's new manager next season, it's unlikely he'd want to bring in any players that could cause a rift in the side.