Barcelona's Signing of Robert Lewandowski Is Fraught with Risk

Barcelona’s Signing of Robert Lewandowski Is Fraught with Risk

Despite his proven abilities, Barca’s willingness to take a risk on Lewandowski is a considerable risk given the club’s precarious financial situation.

All of this is illogical. Barcelona still owes more than $1 billion. To meet La Liga’s strict financial requirements, it must reduce its yearly pay bill by $144 million. In the meantime, it has announced the signings of two players whose names it has not yet been able to register. With only one year left on his contract and a burning desire to leave his previous club, a player who will be 34 months old next month somehow managed to cost Barcelona in the neighborhood $50 million.

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No one can argue that Robert Lewandowski is a great footballer. He has netted 312 Bundesliga goals in the last 12 seasons. For Bayern Munich, he netted 69 goals in 78 Champions League games (two against Barcelona in the group stage and one in the 8–2 quarterfinal defeat in 2020). He embodies everything great about the modern center forward: mobility, a willingness to drop deep and attack from wide, and a knack for finishing well in front of the goal. He’s got the ability to head and to press. He would have won several Ballons d’Or awards if he hadn’t played alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the same time. He has earned the FIFA Best Men’s Player title in the last two years.

And he’s only 33 years old. He’s in top physical condition. To help him lose weight, his nutritionist wife makes him eat dessert before the main dinner. Concerning the evidence, Lewandowski appears to be a convincing case study. Lewandowski’s peak years are still ahead of him, and he should be able to continue for at least a few more years. In his eight seasons at Bayern, he only missed 23 games due to injury.

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Lewandowski’s talent is not the problem. In 2020, when Josep Bartomeu’s successor, Joan Laporta, took over as president of Barcelona, it appeared that his primary focus would be on the club’s finances. Gavi, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Sergio Dest, and Riqui Puig were just a few brilliant young players who seemed capable of providing Barcelona with a cost-effective, dynamic, and primarily local-based core as the club’s funds were reduced. A few might have been sold if things got very terrible. Manchester City paid €55 million ($62 million) for Ferran Torres, a 22-year-old midfielder, which appeared like a riskier move but had the same rationale: Buy young, develop, and then sell on.

In contrast, Lewandowski does not fit the bill. Considering Barcelona’s financial situation, a deal of this magnitude is difficult to consider a priority.

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