Borussia Dortmund star striker Robert Lewandowski has finally put rumours to rest with regards to his future and is reported to be ready to sign a pre-contract with league leaders and bitter rivals Bayern Munich on January 4.
According to reports from Bild (in German) on January 4, the Polish striker is travelling from Warsaw to Munich where he will undergo a medical, then sign a five-year deal with Bayern until 2019 on Saturday, despite Dortmund increasing his salary to five million euros a year.
This will then mean the forward will move from Dortmund to Munich in the summer for free, moving the Bundesliga's most complete striker from last season's second-placed side to its current champions: a clear shift of power that will be to the detriment of the German league.
This move, like most others between top clubs, has set the wheels in motion for a number of deals—none more so than Mario Mandzukic's courting by Juventus as the star striker begins to feel unwanted in Munich —yet the real question to come from such news is just how Dortmund plan to handle this new crisis.
Most fans would argue that Jurgen Klopp foresaw such a deal coming through last summer by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two players who regularly drift between the conventional definitions of midfield and striker.
But will that be enough? Mkhitaryan has spent much of the season playing central midfield and, despite a handful of stand-out performances, the Armenian forward has been inconsistent in stepping in to what was seen as Mario Gotze's old role as playmaker-in-chief.
There's plenty of time and potential there to be a significant success, but we simply can't look to Mkhitaryan to compensate for Lewandowski's loss.
Where Klopp may find solace is in quick, goalscoring Aubameyang. The former Ligue 1 striker may be more of a winger or wing forward at Dortmund at the moment, but he has managed to score nine goals, just two less than Lewandowski, despite starting four fewer games and spending the majority of his time on the wing.
Yet Dortmund don't just lose a significant amount of goals in Lewandowski; they also forego the style of play that the striker has been necessary in forging in Klopp's side over the past few seasons.
The counter-attacking style of play that Klopp's side have gained so much success through over the past few years requires a striker who can turn his back to goal and essentially act as a second playmaker at times.
Lewandowski is essentially a pivot in the midst of the opponents' defence and that role has been priceless for Dortmund.
Whether Aubameyang can perform that role or Klopp will be forced to bring in another star striker is still to be seen, but one thing's for sure: Dortmund have been dealt another blow at the hands of title rivals Bayern.
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