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SOCCER

Nagelsmann has “two or three” candidates to replace Lewandowski

Julian Nagelsmann knows the day will come when Bayern Munich have to replace Robert Lewandowski, who has put in a transfer request.

Update:
15 May 2022, Bavaria, Munich: Joshua Kimmich (l) and coach Julian Nagelsmann of FC Bayern München celebrate the German soccer championship on the balcony of the city hall at Marienplatz. FC Bayern München has won the German Bundesliga soccer championship for the tenth time in a row. Photo: Matthias Balk/dpa (Photo by Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Julian Nagelsmann said that he has “two or three” transfer targets in mind for when Bayern Munich have to replace Robert Lewandowski. Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski has told Bayern he wants to leave and is eager to move on during the close season, rather than have to wait for his contract to expire in June 2023.

That conflicts with the club’s plan, as they remain steadfast Lewandowski will remain at Bayern for the duration of his deal. It remains to be seen what happens next and Nagelsmann is not looking for an immediate signing to take the place of the 33-year-old. Instead, he is planning for the striker who might come in in 12 months’ time and the Bayern head coach said on Sunday: “I have two or three names in mind, but we still have to explore the market.”

Speaking to German broadcaster BR, Nagelsmann confirmed he would nevertheless be looking to bolster Bayern’s squad in certain areas over the coming months. He said: “We’re trying to strengthen the team. We’ll see what is financially possible. We’ll meet with players to convince FC Bayern of their path.”

Bayern’s disappointments

The coach added that he “would be happy if things would be a little quieter next year”, after a testing first season at the helm in Munich. A disappointing Champions League exit to Villarreal in the quarter-finals followed a crushing 5-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal.

Before any calm descends, the Lewandowski situation may have to be resolved. The veteran striker is reportedly wanted by Barcelona and Bayern would sorely miss the contributions of a player who hit 50 goals in the season that ended on Saturday for the Bundesliga champions.

Speaking at Bayern’s championship celebration event on Sunday, star midfielder Thomas Müller sang the praises of Lewandowski, but said the club would find a way to succeed without him. “FC Bayern is constantly changing,” Müller said. “We are constantly losing players, including those we would have liked to keep. You’re not solely dependent on one player. Of course, Robert is a brutally good individual player. I don’t know how long he’ll be here. Maybe longer, but there was Bayern before Robert Lewandowski. The club is above everything.”

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