The 2021-22 season may still be ongoing at international level, but Premier League and Ligue 1 clubs can officially register new signings for the next campaign following the opening of the transfer window on Friday.

Teams in LaLiga, Serie A and the Bundesliga must wait until July 1 for their business to go through – though that is not to say preparations are not already in full swing behind the scenes.

Indeed, a number of big deals are already in place and waiting to get the seal of approval, with Antonio Rudiger heading to Real Madrid and Karim Adeyemi brought in by Borussia Dortmund to replace Manchester City-bound Erling Haaland, while others – Darwin Nunez to Liverpool and Aurelien Tchouameni to Madrid – appear to be all-but complete.

One transfer saga came to an end before the window even officially opened, meanwhile, with Kylian Mbappe confirming that he is staying put at Paris Saint-Germain, despite strong interest from Madrid.

For others, there are weeks of uncertainty ahead. Having already picked out the big-name free agents up for grabs this window, Stats Perform looks at the transfer sagas that are likely to rumble on for a little while longer yet.


Player: Robert Lewandowski
Current club: Bayern Munich
Rumoured suitors: Barcelona, Real Madrid

While the futures of Mbappe and Haaland have already been resolved, arguably the world's best striker in Lewandowski is seeking pastures new after recently declaring that his time at Bayern "has come to an end" – even if the German champions do not quite see it that way.

The Poland international still has 12 months to run on his contract and Bayern are understandably reluctant to sell, even if that means forgoing a transfer fee in a year's time, making things particularly difficult for Barcelona, who are the rumoured frontrunners for his signature.

He was once again the hottest striker across Europe's top five leagues in 2021-22 when taking all competitions into account, the 33-year-old scoring 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in what was his second-best goalscoring campaign across eight years in Bavaria, behind only the 55 netted in 2019-20.

 

Player: Sadio Mane
Current club: Liverpool
Rumoured suitors: Real Madrid

Whether it is to replace wantaway Lewandowski or to play alongside the prolific striker, Bayern are seemingly intent on bringing Liverpool and Senegal forward Mane to the Allianz Arena.

Bayern are reported to have had a second bid of €35.3million (£30m) turned down by Liverpool earlier this week, with the ball very much in the Reds' court – just like it is with the Bavarians and Lewandowski.

Mane would be a huge loss to Liverpool, having scored 90 goals in 196 Premier League appearances since joining at the start of 2016-17 – only Jamie Vardy (104), team-mate Mohamed Salah (118) and Harry Kane (134) have more – explaining their desire to snap up Nunez from Benfica.

 

Player: Gabriel Jesus
Current club: Manchester City
Rumoured suitors: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Real Madrid

Manchester City striker Jesus may just about be the most in-demand player up for grabs this window, with his agent confirming as many as seven clubs are interested in signing the Brazil international.

Arsenal are the only known team to be in discussions with Jesus' camp, though they are expected to face interest from the likes of rivals Tottenham and Chelsea, as well as reigning European and Spanish champions Madrid.

The stats reflect exactly why Jesus is so highly regarded – albeit not by City following the arrival of Haaland – as he has scored or assisted in 57 per cent of matches he has started in the Premier League, a figure bettered only by Salah (62 per cent), Thierry Henry (61 per cent) and City legend Sergio Aguero (60 per cent) among those to have started at least 10 games.

 

Player: Frenkie de Jong
Current club: Barcelona
Rumoured suitors: Manchester United

De Jong has not quite been able to match expectations at Barcelona since arriving from Ajax in a big-money deal two years ago, which the midfielder has regularly put down to being used out of position in central midfield.

The arrival of the Netherlands international's former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at United has only intensified speculation that he could be on his way out of Camp Nou, with Barca themselves needing to offload players if they are to seriously strengthen elsewhere.

De Jong will leave a void to be filled if he does move on, though, as Sergio Busquets (51) was the only Barca outfielder to feature in more games in the 2021-22 campaign than the 25-year-old (47 apps).

 

Player: Christopher Nkunku
Current club: RB Leipzig
Rumoured suitors: Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid

Nkunku well and truly burst onto the scene in the 2021-22 campaign with a combined 51 goals and assists in 52 games for Leipzig across all competitions, meaning he near enough directly contributed to a goal per game.

Only Europe's absolute elite players, Lewandowski (56 goal involvements), Benzema (59) and Mbappe (60), outperformed Nkunku in that regard, making links with Europe's top clubs unsurprising.

Still aged only 24, the four-cap France international may well be a Ballon d'Or winner in waiting if his trajectory over the past couple of seasons is anything to go by. But with two years to run on his Leipzig contract, it will take a huge sum for the Bundesliga side to even consider cashing in. 

 

Belgium bounced back from their thumping by the Netherlands with an emphatic 6-1 Nations League win over Poland on Wednesday.

Roberto Martinez's side suffered a resounding 4-1 defeat to the Oranje on Friday, but a much-improved display at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels saw them return to winning ways in Group A4.

They fell behind to Robert Lewandowski's 28th-minute strike, yet pulled level before half-time thanks to Axel Witsel's superb effort from outside the penalty area.

Kevin De Bruyne then put them ahead after the interval, before a double from substitute Leandro Trossard, a long-range strike from Leander Dendoncker and a late sixth from Lois Openda put the seal on a convincing win.

Despite a bright start, Belgium fell behind shortly before the half-hour mark when Lewandowski controlled Sebastian Szymanski's pass before clipping past the onrushing Simon Mignolet.

However, the Red Devils pulled level three minutes before the interval, Witsel superbly whipping in from 20 yards after Bartlomiej Dragowski had kept out De Bruyne's close-range effort.

Dragowski made an excellent double stop after the break, first pawing away Dendoncker's header and then getting down well to repel Eden Hazard's drive. 

He was powerless to stop De Bruyne in the 59th minute, though, as the Manchester City man rolled past him after being played in by Hazard. 

Trossard made it three with a cool finish after cutting in from the right, before the Brighton and Hove Albion forward added a second with a looping strike from the edge of the penalty area. 

Dendoncker added a fifth with a sublime strike from 25 yards that flashed past Dragowksi, before substitute Openda wrapped up the scoring with almost the last kick of the game.

Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski should not have any bad blood between them if the striker moves on, says Holger Badstuber.

The Poland captain has made it clear he wants to leave the Bundesliga champions, with Barcelona eager to bring him to Camp Nou.

But with a year left on his contract and no obvious successor to the two-time European Golden Shoe winner, Bayern are playing hardball.

That has led to a particularly testy war of words between Lewandowski and the club - but former Bayern man Badstuber believes there should be no animosity if he departs.

"I think that the mutual appreciation should be here," Badstuber told Stats Perform.

"Bayern did a lot for Robert Lewandowski and Lewandowski did his job, which is scoring goals and he always represented Bayern well.

"So, in this case there should not be bad blood if Lewandowski decides to choose another path again."

Badstuber is intrigued to see who the Bavarian grants would bring in if the prolific Lewandowski leaves.

"It’s clear that Bayern must find an heir, an interesting candidate," he added. "Who knows who’s already on the radar or who they already have an eye on.

"It for sure is going to be interesting what comes, whenever that will be.

"For Hasan Salihamidzic it again is a task which he must solve with his team, and I think also with the coach."

Robert Lewandowski feels no enmity towards Bayern Munich and will not force an exit, but he insists letting him depart would be in everyone's best interests. 

Barcelona have been heavily linked with a move for Lewandowski, who wants to leave the Bundesliga champions instead of extending a contract that is due to expire next year. 

The Poland international this week said "something has died" within him, and that he wants to leave Bayern to "experience new emotions." 

Bayern have remained adamant that Lewandowski must see out his contract, with reports suggesting Barca may struggle to finance a move for the 33-year-old. 

Lewandowski insists the Bavarian giants will be better off if they avoid letting him leave on a free transfer next year and bring an end to their disagreement. 

"I think it's better for Bayern to invest the money they can get for me than to keep me until the end of the contract," Lewandowski told Bild. 

"I don't want to force anything, that's not the point. It's all about finding the best solution. 

"I want it to end: the emotions have to cool down. I want to speak calmly, not through the media. I know that a conflict makes a lot of headlines. But FC Bayern and I are not enemies." 

He added: "I'm not egoistic. I know what I had at Bayern and appreciate it very much. I also know that I've been doing my best not to disappoint the club or the fans for eight years." 

Lewandowski scored 35 Bundesliga goals for Bayern in the 2021-22 season, securing him the European Golden Shoe for the second successive year. 

The Poland captain is the only player in Bundesliga history (with a minimum of 10 appearances) to have scored more goals (312) than his team has conceded while he was on the pitch (311). 

Robert Lewandowski says "something has died" within him at Bayern Munich, as the striker continues to push for an anticipated exit to Barcelona.

The Poland international, who has a year left on his contract with the Bundesliga champions, has repeatedly signalled his intent to leave Allianz Arena this summer.

Though no official confirmation has been made by the player, it appears Lewandowski is fixated upon a switch to Camp Nou in the next step of his decorated career.

A myriad of issues, from Bayern's reluctance to sell him through whether Barca can afford to pay any transfer fee, remain major obstacles to any such move.

But Lewandowski has continued to state he will not be in Bavaria next term, saying he desires to move on to discover new challenges.

"Something has died in me," the striker told Polish outlet Onet Sport. "I want to leave Bayern to seek new emotions in my life.

"I just want to leave Bayern. Loyalty and respect are more important than work, [and] the best way is to find a solution for both parties."

Though other clubs have been intermittently linked, reports have suggested Barca will be the only destination for Lewandowski if he does depart Bayern.

The 33-year-old teased this elsewhere, adding: "The list of clubs interested in me is not very long.

"There is a lot of talk about a specific club. I am not considering other offers."

Lewandowski - who has spent a busy off-season so far, both with Poland and in attendance at other sporting events such as the French Open - is unlikely to see his future resolved until the international break is over.

Last season, he retained the European Golden Shoe, after winning it for the first time during a record-breaking 2020-21 campaign when he overtook Gerd Muller for the most goals scored in a single Bundesliga season.

Pep Guardiola cannot foresee Bayern Munich letting Robert Lewandowski leave nor Barcelona having the financial power to sign the striker.

Lewandowski is contracted to Bayern until the end of next season, but he is attempting to engineer a move to Camp Nou a year earlier amid interest from the Catalan giants.

The Poland captain declared his story was over at Bayern at the end of May, as disputes over contract proposals between his agent and the Bundesliga champions continued.

While Lewandowski appears intent on joining Xavi's side, there remain questions as to the finances behind a deal, with LaLiga boss Javier Tebas stating Barca cannot afford the 33-year-old unless they sell at least one prized asset.

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta hit back at Tebas' comments, but Barca's economic vice president Eduard Romeu admitted the club must sell players before they would be in a position to land Lewandowski.

Manchester City boss and Blaugrana legend Guardiola, speaking at the Legends Golf Trophy event in Mallorca, expressed his doubts over whether Lewandowski will move to Spain.

"It seems that they have it difficult," he said on Monday. "His career speaks for itself. We are talking about Lewandowski, he adapts to any place.

"But I don't know, I don't know if the economic situation can allow him to join, I don't know if Bayern will let him go. I already have other problems!"

 

Guardiola guided City to their fourth Premier League title in five seasons last month and his side will be bolstered by the imminent arrival of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

It has been reported Bernardo Silva is a target of Barca should Frenkie de Jong leave for Manchester United.

Guardiola would only comment on Barca's financial situation, though, as he detailed his hopes that the Blaugrana will return as a dominant force in his homeland.

"Looks like they're having it tough," he said when asked of Silva. "I hope everything goes well for them but with the situation they have they cannot do great things.

"There are moments in history, everyone has to accept it when the situation is the way it is and sometimes going with low expectations will help you to rise very quickly.

"The expectations can be low because of the situation not because of the lack of quality of the coaches, the players or the board of directors. 

"The perception I have is good, but you have to go calmly. Everyone knows that if the situation isn't good you can't make big signings. You have to think about winning the next game."

Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer has declared he is "confident" Robert Lewandowski will stay next season, despite continued interest from Barcelona.

Lewandowski and the Bundesliga champions have been embroiled in a contract dispute, with the Bayern talisman claiming no new terms have been offered to extend his stay beyond the end of his current deal, which expires in June 2023.

Bayern, though, suggest a "concrete offer" is on the table as Barcelona circle for the signature of Lewandowski, who has made his preference to join the LaLiga side clear.

The Poland international declared his story with Julian Nagelsmann's side was over at the end of May, but president Hainer remains optimistic Bayern will keep their star striker.

Hainer told BILD: "A contract is a contract! Where are we going if a player can end a contract prematurely while we as a club would have to pay him in full up to the last day of the term?

"I was a bit surprised that Robert chose to go public, I wouldn't have done it in his place.

"Bayern is a club that treats its players very well, that does everything to enable them to perform at their best. And I have to say, appreciation is not a one-way street!

"We're in the fortunate position that we don't have any financial difficulties. We want to have the best players and Robert is one of the best.

"That's why I'm confident that he'll be with us again next season. Robert is a full professional, he wants to play football."

 

Lewandowski enjoyed another remarkable season in 2021-22, scoring 35 goals in 34 Bundesliga games – no player scored more across Europe's top five leagues.

Should the 33-year-old stay next campaign, he could be joined by more attacking firepower up top, with Liverpool's Sadio Mane making an imminent decision on his future.

And Hainer assures no player is out of Bayern's reach.

"If we really want a player, we are able to get him, but he has to suit us," he added.

Iga Swiatek was congratulated by Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski after she successfully regained her French Open crown.

The world number one was embraced by her Polish compatriot after a comprehensive 6-1 6-3 win over Coco Gauff at Roland Garros.

Swiatek and Lewandowski are among the pre-eminent Polish sports stars of this generation, and shared in their delight at the former's triumph.

Victory for the 21-year-old on Court Philippe-Chatrier extends her winning streak to 35 matches and saw her reclaim the title she won for the first time in 2020.

Lewandowski meanwhile is in Paris between games with Poland in the UEFA Nations League.

The veteran forward played in his country's 2-1 friendly win over Wales on Wednesday and is expected to feature against Belgium next week.

Leeds United have placed a price-tag of at least £60million on star winger Raphinha, posing questions about whether interested party Barcelona will have the funds to complete a deal.

Raphinha was excellent for Leeds this past season, finishing second for the team in matches started (35), first in goals scored (11), second in assists (three) and converted all four penalties he was entrusted with.

Barcelona have been viewed as the primary suitor for the Brazilian winger, but with the price-tag continuing to rise, there is doubt about how the Spanish giants could pull it off.

 

TOP STORY – LEEDS TO HAND OUT NO DISCOUNTS FOR RAPHINHA

The Athletic is reporting that, as it stands, Barcelona will not have the funds to complete a move for Raphinha – or anyone close to his price-tag.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas controversially shared that Barca are in no position to sign Robert Lewandowski, but added that some big-name sales could "fill up their tank, which is empty".

The Blaugrana's continued interest in Raphinha, despite their financial position, adds fuel to the fire of a potential Frenkie de Jong sale to Manchester United, with his reported £72.5m price-tag potentially adding some much-needed spending power.

The Athletic also mentions Manchester City's Bernardo Silva, Valencia's Carlos Soler, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, as well as Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso as potential Barcelona targets.

 

ROUND-UP

– GiveMeSport is reporting that Harry Kane "is likely" to sign a contract extension to remain at Tottenham.

– According to the Manchester Evening News, United have offered defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka to at least one club, and are also willing to part ways with England under-21 defender Brandon Williams.

– Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku is willing to take a pay cut to return to Inter, according to the Telegraph.

– ESPN is reporting United may challenge Ajax for the signature of Tottenham winger Steven Bergwijn, with the Dutch club's interest beginning when Erik ten Hag was in charge.

– According to the Daily Mail, Tottenham and Chelsea will compete for RB Leipzig's 20-year-old Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol.

Joshua Kimmich has expressed his hope Serge Gnabry stays at Bayern Munich, as the winger continues to be linked with a return to Arsenal.

Gnabry hinted at a move away from the Allianz Arena on Thursday as he asked: "Should I leave my comfort zone?", with just a year left on his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

The winger finished the season with 14 league goals: Only team-mate Robert Lewandowski (35) scored more for Bayern, while just Thomas Muller (84), Kimmich (80), and Leroy Sane (50) created more chances for the side than Gnabry's 48.

That has led to interest from Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, who allowed Gnabry to leave for Werder Bremen in 2016 before he joined Bayern the following year.

However, Kimmich hopes his club-mate and international team-mate Gnabry stays with the Bavarian giants for at least another season.

"It's also a difficult topic for me. Serge is my best friend and that's why I hope he stays," Kimmich told reporters at a Friday news conference ahead of Germany's UEFA Nations League clash with Italy.

"We understand each other not only on but also off the pitch. But in the end, it's also important that he makes the right decision.

"Every day he joins a squad where it's fun to play football, he has the chance to play for every title with us every year and an environment where he feels comfortable, [but] he has to decide what's right for him."

Lewandowski also appears set to leave Bayern in the upcoming transfer window, declaring his "story was over" with Julian Nagelsmann's side amid interest from Barcelona.

The Poland international, like Gnabry, has a contract until June 2023, but has made his disgruntlement clear and his preference to join Xavi's side has become more than apparent.

Kimmich, though, kept his cards closer to his chest on the Lewandowski debate, with the striker suggesting he has not been offered a new deal, while Bayern have claimed a "concrete offer" is on the table.

"The question has been very popular in the last few days. Everything has been said there. I'll leave it uncommented. The players and the club have to make up their own minds," Kimmich continued.

Kimmich lifted yet another Bundesliga title with Bayern this campaign, but Nagelsmann's side crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage to Villarreal.

The Germany international expressed his frustrations with the 2021-22 season as he looked ahead to the Nations League campaign with his country, which starts in Bologna on Saturday.

"I'm always a player who expects a lot from himself. We certainly conceded too many goals this season. Not only do I have to improve, but the whole team. We have to stretch us next season," he added.

"Unfortunately, I haven't been with the national team too often in the last six months. We certainly haven't achieved enough with Bayern.

"We have to present ourselves differently next season. The national team now has important tournaments with the Nations League, World Cup and then the European Championship.

"The games that are coming up now are special again. These are not friendly games either. The Nations League is already good because it's about something. Then you'll see where we stand."

Barcelona will not be able to sign wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski without raising funds via player sales or wage cuts, Blaugrana's economic vice president Eduard Romeu admitted.

Romeu also hinted star talents such as Frenkie de Jong could be allowed to leave if their departures would allow Barca to strengthen Xavi's squad.

Barca have been strongly linked with a move for Lewandowski amid a contract dispute with the Bundesliga champions, declaring on Monday: "My story at Bayern is over".

But Barca's attempts to sign the Poland international, who scored 50 goals in 46 appearances for Bayern in the 2021-22 season, were left in doubt earlier this week when LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the Blaugrana must sell star players to fund such a move.

Tebas said on Tuesday: "They know what they have to do, sell assets. Barca have had many accumulated losses in recent years, some that could have been avoided."

Blaugrana president Joan Laporta responded by hitting out at Tebas for "wanting to harm Barca's interests" in a message shared by the club's social media accounts.

Romeu, though, acknowledges the need to raise funds to fund the high-profile signing, almost a year on from Barca losing club legend Lionel Messi after struggling to meet LaLiga's salary limits.

"Currently the norm is one to three for financial fair play," he told radio station RAC1. "If we are able to get three times more than the cost of the transfer plus amortisation, he can be signed, but first we have to do the job of closing levers.

"If we don't do it, as we are at the moment, by regulation it is not possible to sign him."

 

Romeu then revealed Barca are to begin talks with players over salary cuts, as they look to trim a bloated wage bill to make room for new arrivals. 

"We have a wage bill of €560million, compared to Bayern it is double, they have €300million and [Real] Madrid €400million," he continued.

"Negotiations with the squad will be individual. With the veterans, it will depend on the technical interests and where there is more interest for the club. The most expensive contracts have to be negotiated beforehand."

Barcelona's continued need to balance the books has led to rumours De Jong could be sold, with the Dutch international linked with a reunion with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, and Romeu did not rule out a sale of the talented midfielder.

"It is the players' own decision, the players have some agreements that someone has signed for them," he added.

"They haven't committed any sin, we can't afford certain situations, but we have to make an assessment, they haven't cheated anyone and Barca has respected their agreements, another thing is that we have to negotiate with them.

"Right now, we don't have a budget for the sale of players. What is being talked about is a technical issue. About Frenkie de Jong, one thing is that you get money, and another that you [can] use [it] for other payments."

Romeu also followed Laporta's lead in hitting out at Tebas, insisting he was partially responsible for the financial crisis that engulfed Barcelona during Josep Maria Bartomeu's tenure as president due to his leniency with the previous Blaugrana regime.

"The situation Barca has is its own fault, but this man [Tebas] is co-responsible for Barca's situation," Romeu claimed.

"He has looked the other way and has allowed the current situation. He said amen to everything, against the interests of Barca."

Following their Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal, Bayern Munich's squad is set to transform.

With Robert Lewandowski and others looking to follow Niklas Sule out of Sabenerstrasse this off-season, replacements have reportedly long been in mind.

While Sadio Mane's rumoured transfer is viewed with the short-term in mind, options deeper on the pitch evidently represents a longer-term vision.

TOP STORY – GRAVENBERCH SET FOR BAYERN MOVE

Bayern Munich appear set to bolster their midfield stocks with Ryan Gravenberch's upcoming signing, according to Fabrizio Romano.

With Corentin Tolisso effectively confirming his departure in an interview with L'Equipe and Marc Roca also reportedly on the way, Die Roten's midfield is in need of reinforcement.

It is understood the highly rated 20-year-old has already completed a medical, and paperwork between Ajax and Bayern is being prepared to formalise.

Bayern have also reportedly added a seven per cent on-sell clause to sweeten the deal for the Netherlands international. 

ROUND-UP

– Five years after selling him to ArsenalLyon want to re-sign France forward Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer, per L'Equipe.

– The Gunners are also intent on signing Youri Tielemans, who appears set to leave Leicester City this off-season, according to Fabrizio Romano.

– Barcelona have identified Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku as an alternative if they are unable to sign Robert Lewandowski, Mundo Deportivo is reporting.

– Manchester City could see both Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko leave this off-season, while Raheem Sterling would only join another elite club, the Athletic reports.

Thomas Muller has appealed to Robert Lewandowski to stay with Bayern Munich after the record-breaking striker requested a move.

It was confirmed last month that Lewandowski had refused the offer of a new contract at Bayern, whom he joined in 2014 on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund.

He has told Bayern he wants to leave during this close season, rather than wait for his deal to expire next year.

Lewandowski has appeared to leave little wriggle room, saying this week: "What is certain at the moment is that my story at Bayern is over. I don't see any chance of continuing my career at this club."

Yet Muller is holding out hope that Lewandowski could have a change of heart.

Muller's promptings from an advanced midfield role have played a huge part in Lewandowski's success, with Bayern winning eight consecutive Bundesliga titles since the latter arrived at the club from Dortmund.

Where Lewandowski is the Bundesliga's goals king, Muller is the assists master.

Speaking to German magazine Kicker, Muller said: "I would like my long-term attacking partner to stay."

Barcelona are hoping to sign Lewandowski, but their financial problems in recent times may not make the transaction an easy one to achieve.

Bayern will likely expect a substantial transfer fee, and their current stance is that he is not for sale.

"It's a break and we've experienced a lot during these times," said Muller. "I just remember Franck Ribery's desire to move to Real Madrid."

Ribery wanted to join Madrid in 2009 but was convinced to stay and had 10 more successful years at Bayern.

Muller added: "One thing is certain: every player, who is still under contract in Munich on September 1, will also want to play well, because no player enjoys playing badly."

Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single campaign in 2020-21, and in the season just ended he netted 50 in all competitions for the Bavarian giants.

Muller had a league-high 18 assists in the 2021-22 campaign, matching his total from the previous season.

Joan Laporta has hit back at Javier Tebas' suggestion Barcelona cannot afford to sign Robert Lewandowski as he claimed the LaLiga chief wants to hurt the Blaugrana's interests.

Barca appear the favourites to sign Bayern Munich talisman Lewandowski after he declared his "story was over" with the Bundesliga giants.

Poland star Lewandowksi has made clear his preference to join Barca, but Tebas suggested the Blaugrana must sell one of their prized assets to be able to fund the transfer.

"Barca already know what they have to do if they want to sign Lewandowski," Tebas told Europa Press Sports Breakfasts.

"They know our economic control rules perfectly. It's to avoid major economic problems. I don't know if they will sell [Frenkie] de Jong or Pedri.

"They know what they have to do, sell assets. Barca has had many accumulated losses in the last tax years, some of which could have been avoided and they have to stock the pantry. 

"Just as Madrid have stocked up, Barcelona have emptied it. Today they cannot sign him [Lewandowski]."

But Barca president Laporta has not taken kindly to Tebas' advice, asking the LaLiga boss to stay out of matters that do not involve him.

"Regarding the statements by the president of the league saying that we cannot sign a player, I would like to remind him that his job is to watch over the interests of the league and the clubs," Laporta said in a message posted on Barca's Twitter.

"So with all due respect I ask that he abstains from commenting on whether or not we can sign a certain player, because he is obviously harming the interests of FC Barcelona.

"I don't know if he makes these comments voluntarily or involuntarily. If he does so voluntarily, it is very obvious that he is wanting to harm Barca's interests.

"And if he does it involuntarily, it is further proof of his verbal incontinence and the desire that the president of the league wants to take the limelight, and with all due respect, that is not his place."

LaLiga president Javier Tebas says there is no way Barcelona can sign Robert Lewandowski unless they sell at least one of their prized assets.

Lewandowski on Monday declared that "my story is over" at Bayern Munich after he refused to sign a new contract with the Bundesliga champions.

The prolific Poland captain has made no secret of the fact he wants to join Barca.

Yet Tebas stated the Catalan giants would not be able to afford the striker as they must cut their cloth accordingly after getting into big financial trouble.

Tebas believes the Blaugrana will have to allow one of their most valuable players to leave in order to make a move for Lewandowski.

He told Europa Press Sports Breakfasts: "Barca already know what they have to do if they want to sign Lewandowski.

"They know our economic control rules perfectly. It's to avoid major economic problems. I don't know if they will sell [Frenkie] de Jong or Pedri.

"They know what they have to do, sell assets. Barca have had many accumulated losses in recent years, some that could have been avoided, and they have to fill the pantry.

"Just like [Real] Madrid has filled their pantry, Barca's is empty. Today they cannot sign him."

 

Lewandowski told reporters at a Nations League news conference on Monday when asked about his future: "It's a big question.

"I don't like being in this situation. What is certain at the moment is that my story at Bayern is over. I don't see any chance of continuing my career at this club.

"Let's see what we can do in the next two weeks, I don't want to continue and I would like to focus on Poland. 

"After the Nations League we will have time to talk about the situation, but I don't see any possibility to continue at Bayern.

"Bayern is a serious club and I hope they will not keep me just because they can. A transfer is the best solution for all parties."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.