FC Barcelona are not exactly what you’d call a “stable” football club. In fact, from a Bayern Munich perspective, they’re basically a debt trap masquerading as a sports team.
Curiously, the sensitive and business-minded Robert Lewandowski has been reeled in by this financial black hole, and wants Barcelona to be his employer next summer. This puts Bayern in an awkward place. Given the Catalan giants’ fragile finances, they cannot pay a mammoth fee to acquire Lewandowski’s services, as would normally be expected for a player of his caliber. And with Lewandowski clearly unhappy and his contract expiring next season, the board is under immense pressure to take what they can get and move the striker on.
That was then. Things have changed. Let’s talk about that.
Barcelona have money now
You know when people joke about selling a kidney to buy an iPhone? Well Barcelona have basically gone and done that. On Friday, a select group of club members voted to sell chunks of the team’s licensing and TV rights. According to MD journalist Fernando Polo, the proceeds of such a sale could raise €700-800m and give the club immense financial breathing room.
With the authorization of two economic levers today by the socios: sale of 49.9% of BLM and sale of upto 25% of TV rights; an amount of €700-800M could be raised. [@ffpolo]
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) June 16, 2022
For reference, BLM refers to Barca Licensing and Merchandising, and not the other thing it usually means. Now, how much of that money can be spent on transfers? According to COPE, up to 200 million euros for just this transfer window:
| BREAKING: FC Barcelona would have more than €200M to strengthen the team this summer.@COPE [ ️]
— Managing Barca (@ManagingBarca) June 17, 2022
That seems like a significant pile of money, and Bayern should be aiming to claim at least a good fraction of it. We’ve been hearing from German news sources that Bayern might accept a fee of around €50m, paid in one single installment. That’s looking a little too low now. Let’s bump it up by 50%, make it €75m. Oh and let’s be nice, and let them spread out the fee for a couple of years (we’re so generous!).
Or what about a fair, even €80m. That seems good, right? Oh what the hell, let’s have a poll.
How much should Bayern Munich ask for Robert Lewandowski?
Of course, that’s not the only factor at play right now.
Lewandowski’s behavior cannot be rewarded.
Having done everything possible to alienate and antagonize the Bayern fanbase and board (apparently with Laporta’s blessing), Robert Lewandowski probably expects the club to let him go for a reasonable fee, something close to what Bayern recently paid to acquire Sadio Mane from Liverpool.
That should not happen.
Look, I get Lewandowski’s perspective. People will know from my comments, but I’ve bashed the board for their handling of this transfer and letting things get so far. But for the sake of Bayern Munich as a club, Robert Lewandowski cannot bully his way to an exit. It’s not about him — it’s about sending a message to his agent, to Barcelona, and to any player who might try this same tactic in the future. Bayern Munich does not respond well to pressure. There will be no tantrum discount. Barcelona should pay a premium if they want him.
If that means Lewandowski has to spend another unhappy year at this club, then so be it. It will no doubt hurt Bayern, but the alternative would hurt far more. Again, the board deserves the blame for letting it get this far — BUT now that we are here, we should not bend to Lewandowski’s demands.