Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn has criticised star striker Robert Lewandowski for publicly revealing his intention to leave the club.

Lewandowski – who joined in 2014 on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund – does not see any chance of a future at Bayern, saying his story at the club is over.

The Pole has helped Bayern win eight straight Bundesliga titles, as well as the Champions League in 2020.

However, his contract expires in just over a year's time, and Lewandowski reportedly wants to join Barcelona in the upcoming transfer window.

 

Speaking at a Nations League news conference, Lewandowski said: "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."

Last season, the 33-year-old broke Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single campaign, and this term he netted 50 in all competitions for the Bavarian giants.

Kahn revealed his feelings on the matter to SPORT1 on Monday, saying: "Why Robert chose this path, I can not tell you. Such statements in public do not get you anywhere.

"Robert has been [FIFA men's player of the year] here twice in a row – I think he should know what he has at FC Bayern.

"Appreciation is not a one-way street."

Lionel Messi says there can be "no doubts" Karim Benzema would be a worthy Ballon d'Or winner after the Real Madrid star cemented his frontrunner status with Champions League glory.

The France international is the favourite to succeed the Argentinian as the next recipient of the game's most prestigious individual prize after inspiring his side to domestic and European success this term.

Benzema netted 44 goals in 46 games across all competitions this term for Carlo Ancelotti's side and led them in Paris to victory over Liverpool on Saturday as captain.

Messi, who has added to his trophy cabinet with a Ligue 1 title at Paris Saint-Germain in his first year away from Barcelona, certainly feels Benzema has earned his shot at the award.

"I think there is no doubts," Messi told TyC Sports when asked if the Frenchman would be a fitting successor as the Ballon d'Or winner.

"It is very clear that Benzema had a spectacular year and ended up consecrating himself with the Champions League, being fundamental from the round of 16 onwards in all the games.

"I think there are no doubts this year."

Messi also reflected on his triumph in 2021, when he defended the crown he won in 2019 against Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski after the award was cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lewandowski would have been many people's favourite in 2020 and went on break Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 Bundesliga goals in a single season the following year.

Yet he was forced to make do with second behind Messi after he helped Argentina to their first Copa America success in 28 years.

Messi acknowledged Lewandowski would have been a worthy winner in 2020, but on reflection feels he deserved the 2021 triumph he was awarded.

"What I said at that moment was from my heart and because I really felt that way," Messi said, alluding to his comments at the 2021 Ballon d'Or ceremony.

"I said that he deserved the Ballon d'Or before, because the year before it had seemed to me that he had been the best.

"But the year that I won, he wasn't the best. I just said that. But let him take it as he wants. Everyone says what they want and obviously he can express himself and say what he wants.

"Honestly, I don't share what he said, but I didn't give it much importance either. That's it, he can say what he wants, I'm not interested."

Robert Lewandowski does not see any chance of a future at Bayern Munich, saying his story at the club is over.

It was confirmed earlier this 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.

The striker has helped Bayern win eight straight Bundesliga titles, as well as the Champions League in 2020.

Last season, he broke Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a single campaign, and this term he netted 50 in all competitions for the Bavarian giants.

However, his contract expires at the end of next season and Bayern now have to face cashing in this year or allowing him to leave for free in 2023.

Lewandowski wants to join Barcelona, whose coach Xavi has been open about the possibility of signing the 33-year-old, and on Monday the striker reiterated his intent to leave.

 

Asked if he was optimistic of joining Barca, Lewandowski told reporters at a Nations League news conference: "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."

Robert Lewandowski could not hope to win more trophies at Barcelona and should therefore stay at Bayern Munich, as uncertainty over his future persists.

That is the message from former Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who has implored the Bundesliga giants to keep talisman Lewandowski at the club despite interest from the Blaugrana.

The Poland international has enjoyed another remarkable season, scoring 35 goals in 34 top-flight games – no player has scored more across Europe's top five leagues.

But Lewandowski, whose contract expires in June 2023, has been widely linked with Barca after enjoying another fine personal campaign to help Bayern to a record 10th consecutive league title.

Questions remain over his future after Lewandowski and his agent suggested they had received no new contract offer, while Bayern, on the other hand, insisted a "concrete offer" was on the table.

And Rummenigge believes his former side must do everything in their power to keep the 33-year-old.

 

"I see things much more relaxed. There is one decisive factor: Robert Lewandowski has a contract that does not expire this year, but next year," he told BILD. 

"That means the club can decide what to do, whether they sell him or not. I think [Bayern CEO] Oliver Kahn used the words 'Lewandowski stays, that's that' to show the door is closed, we're not selling him! 

"I can't imagine that Bayern Munich will now give up Robert with these statements. I've experienced that myself. 

"In 2013 [the year before the Poland international joined from Borussia Dortmund] we prepared a lot of things with Lewandowski but [BVB CEO Hans-Joachim] Watzke said categorically, 'we won't sell him a year before, for any money in the world'. It all happened peacefully. 

"I don't know Robert as a rioter either. He is irreplaceable for FC Bayern. Since he's here, he scores between 40 and 50 goals every year. You need a player like that, even if he's about to turn 34. That's a guarantee that doesn't exist anywhere in Europe. He is extra class.

"He is a very intelligent person who has to be involved. He's someone who wants to win. But I don't think you can currently win more in Barcelona than at Bayern.

"I have to say openly and honestly, what more can Barcelona offer than Bayern Munich? I can't think of anything at the moment.

"He's a goal machine who has set records in all competitions. I wouldn't give up a player like that voluntarily. You have to fight for it, have conversations and cuddle with advisors, even if it's not that easy."

Former Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery has warned the Bundesliga champions not to keep striker Robert Lewandowski at the club against his will.

Questions remain over Lewandowski's future after he confirmed last week that he wants to leave Bayern.

Lewandowski suggested no new terms had been proposed on his contract, which is due to expire at the end of the season.

However, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn insisted on Saturday that a "concrete offer" was on the table, while sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic accused the player's agent, Pini Zahavi, of attempting to turn his client's head.

Zahavi hit back at Salihamidzic as he warned Bayern it would not be sensible to risk losing Lewandowski on a free transfer, nor to deny him the opportunity to join Barcelona.

Ribery, who played alongside Lewandowski at Bayern between 2014 and 2019, agrees with that sentiment, but remains hopeful the 33-year-old can leave the club on good terms.

"There is such a risk [for Bayern]," he told Wirtualna Polska. "A footballer forced to stay can be frustrated and angry.

"However, I would love to find a solution that will make everyone happy. I understand the club because it will be very difficult to find a new Lewandowski.

"We are talking about the best striker in the world in recent years. Nobody sells such a player willingly.

"But Lewandowski wants this change; he is looking for a new spark, he needs a new challenge. This situation is not easy. May there be a good solution for everyone.

"If Robert leaves, nobody and nothing will erase what he has done for Bayern. But I would also like him to leave in style."

 

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in 46 matches for Bayern this season in all competitions, making him the top scorer across Europe's top five leagues.

And Ribery, who now plays in Serie A for Salernitana, believes the Poland international and LaLiga giants Barca would be a perfect fit.

"Barca is Barca," he added. "Sure, they have their problems, but even if they are not as strong as five or six years ago, they are still big.

"It is known that then they had an amazing team, players who played together for many years. [Lionel] Messi, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Dani] Alves, [Jordi] Alba.

"It's different now, but there is no shortage of talent there. Yes, if Lewy were to leave Bayern, Barcelona would be a good choice."

Bayern Munich are "history" to Robert Lewandowski as the talisman looks for a "dream" move to Barcelona, according to the striker's agent Pini Zahavi.

Questions remain over Lewandowski's future after he said he wants to leave Bayern and is refusing to sign a new contract.

Lewandowski suggested no new terms had been proposed on his contract, which is due to expire at the end of the season with the Bundesliga champions.

However, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn insisted on Saturday that a "concrete offer" was on the table, while sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic accused Zahavi of attempting to turn his client's head.

Zahavi hit back at Salihamidzic as he warned Bayern it would not be sensible to risk losing Lewandowski on a free transfer, nor to deny him the opportunity to join Xavi's Barca.

"For Lewandowski, Bayern is history," Zahavi told BILD. "Robert has the chance to move to the club he has always dreamt of. Why is Bayern denying him this opportunity?

"Actually, I didn't want to speak in public because I have great respect for this historic club. However, I cannot fail to react to Hasan Salihamidzic's statements.

"Of course you can keep Robert for another year, to be fair he has a contract until 2023, but I wouldn't recommend that to you."

 

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in 46 matches for Bayern this season in all competitions, making him the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues.

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has recorded 29 goals in 30 games in all competitions this term, and has agreed to join Manchester City for the next season after the Premier League champions activated his £51million (€60m) release clause.

However, Zahavi suggested Bayern made their intentions to sign Haaland before City's announcement, with Lewandowski aware of the plans to replace him with the Norway international.

"[He is a] very intelligent person, not just the best striker in the world. He knows exactly what is happening around him and what FC Bayern had planned," he added.

"So Robert knew all along that Bayern wanted to replace him with Haaland. Erling's father even confirmed it, telling him in a personal conversation some time ago: 'My son comes to FC Bayern for 50 percent.' 

"The football world is big, but there are no secrets..."

Wantaway Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has had his head turned by his agent, according to the Bundesliga champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

Lewandowski last week confirmed that he has informed Bayern he will not be extending his contract beyond the end of next season when it is due to expire.

The Poland international stated after the final game of the season against Wolfsburg that he had not received a proposal for new terms.

However, Bayern chief executive Oliver Kahn insisted on Saturday that was not the case, with a "concrete offer" being tabled to his agent.

Salihamidzic has now accused Lewandowski's representative of talking his client into a move away from the Allianz Arena, where he has spent the past eight seasons.

"He got an offer. I don't know what the agent said to his player, but we definitely made an offer," Salihamidzic told Sport1 on Sunday.

"We had a conversation with the consultant and said very clearly how we imagined the future, with a very clear sum and terms.

"He has an advisor who has turned his head and has turned it all year round. It's not clean."

Reiterating earlier comments made by Kahn, Salihamidzic vowed Bayern will not look to sell Barcelona-linked Lewandowski in the upcoming transfer window.

"Robert has a contract until 2023 and he will fulfil it," he said. "We have the greatest respect for Lewy. FC Bayern have always behaved correctly."

 

Lewandowski has scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions this season, making him the top scorer among players from Europe's top five leagues.

That is the second-most the 33-year-old has managed across his eight years in Bavaria, behind the 55 he netted in 2019-10.

While questions will inevitably continue to be asked about Lewandowski's future, Manuel Neuer looks set to extend his stay with Bayern.

Like Lewandowski, the Germany international's contract has just over 12 months left to run, but he is reported to have been offered a one-year extension on top of that.

"I'm very optimistic. Manuel is one of the keys to success," Salihamidzic said. "Please be patient, but we're on the right track. We're on the home stretch."

The inevitable at Camp Nou has arrived along with the end of the season in LaLiga.

Xavi's rebuild and transformation of the Barcelona has lingered over this past season, despite the need to recover from their slow start.

According to reports, the Blaugrana are not wasting any time.

TOP STORY – XAVI CLEAR-OUT TO BEGIN AT BARCELONA   

Xavi has informed a number of Barcelona's players that the club is intending to sell them, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Riqui Puig, Samuel Umtiti, Oscar Mingueza and Martin Braithwaite have already been notified they are not in the club's future plans.

The four of them have been peripheral figures under Xavi, since he took over as head coach in November, but he had avoided contract talk with the press during the season.

While the 42-year-old has confirmed he has spoken to those four players "and others", it appears to be only the start of a sizeable squad transformation.

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, the Barca boss has confirmed they are in talks to sign Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, Goal reports.

– Napoli have rejected a €90million (£76m) bid from Arsenal for Victor Osimhen, according to Calciomercato.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a final offer for Paul Pogba, but Juventus are confident their offer of a €14.2m yearly salary will be sufficient.

– The Daily Mail is also reporting that Inter want Ivan Perisic to agree to a new contract amid interest from Tottenham and Chelsea.

Real Madrid will have been left shaken by Kylian Mbappe's decision to snub them in favour of a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

It was common knowledge that Madrid wanted to bring in Mbappe and shape their team around the France striker for the next decade.

The Spanish champions have been used to getting what they want, but this time they have failed to land their number one target, with PSG's financial muscle surely a major factor.

Now Madrid president Florentino Perez must consider the club's next course of action. Do they rely on Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior next season, or has there been a back-up plan in case Mbappe reached this decision?

Here, Stats Perform looks at players that Madrid could consider if they remain intent on bringing in a forward in the close season.

Richarlison (Everton/Brazil)

After five years spent fumbling around mid-table and the lower reaches of the Premier League with Watford and latterly Everton, Richarlison seems long overdue a move to a club where he might challenge for honours. The 25-year-old has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona, and more recently Manchester United, and he would bring a roving threat to any side he joins. Capable of playing wide or in the centre, or flitting between roles, Richarlison has reached double figures in Premier League goals in three of his four seasons with Everton, and in a World Cup year this could be the ideal time to move for the striker. Should he dazzle at Qatar 2022, that price tag could go skywards.

Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)

PSG were desperate to retain Mbappe, but would they feel the same way about Neymar? Five years into his PSG career, Neymar is now 30 years old and this is the first season when he has managed more than 20 league appearances for the Parisians. Injuries have disrupted his stay at the Parc des Princes, and while he remains a wonderfully gifted player and a joy to watch at times, if PSG want to recoup a chunk of the huge outlay that brought him to Paris from Barcelona, now might be the time for that. It would be an impudent approach for Madrid to make, and Neymar's Barcelona history adds a further complication, given the rivalry, but the player himself may be tempted.

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)

If Madrid have a statement signing in mind to ease the pain of missing Mbappe, then joining the race for Lewandowski and gazumping Barcelona would be one way of going about that. Lewandowski has told Bayern he wants to leave, and ideally before next season. Barcelona are certainly interested, but their financial problems are well known. Could Madrid be better placed to land the highest scorer from Europe's top five leagues this season? Lewandowski hit 50 goals in 46 games across all competitions for Bayern, with Madrid's Benzema second on the list and Mbappe third. Whether Madrid would want a player who turns 34 in August when they already have a 34-year-old frontman in Benzema is a moot point.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)

Mbappe would have arrived in Madrid on a free transfer, given his contract at PSG was coming to an end. If their priority is to pick up a forward without an initial transfer fee outlay, then Dybala becomes an option. Roma and a host of Premier League clubs have been linked with the Argentina international, whose Juventus contract is expiring. He has scored at least 15 goals in five of his seven seasons with Juve, and would bring a creative presence to Madrid, and bundles of trophy-winning experience.

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig/France)

If Madrid cannot have Mbappe for now, then his and Benzema's France team-mate Nkunku looks like a strong alternative option. With 34 goals in 51 games for Leipzig this season (prior to Saturday's DFB-Pokal final), Nkunku has proven himself in Germany and in European competition, and the obvious next step is a move to a super-club. The 24-year-old PSG academy graduate pipped the likes of Lewandowski and Erling Haaland to be named the Bundesliga's player of the year, underlining his status as a growing force in the game.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)

Would they want Salah, or would they prefer his team-mate Sadio Mane? Either way, a Madrid approach could be Liverpool's worst nightmare. Both Salah and Mane have contracts that run to the end of next season, and they have again been tearing it up this term for the quadruple-hunting Reds. They are hot property and are coming to the point where they are considering probably the last bumper contracts of their careers. Would they fit in at Madrid? Both have the flair and finishing class that suggest they would be ideal acquisitions, and Madrid will get a close-up look in the Champions League final.

Xavi has insisted Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland were never realistic targets for Barcelona, though he is confident he will have money to invest in the squad. 

Barca wrap up what has been a turbulent season against Villarreal on Sunday. 

The Blaugrana will finish second in LaLiga, a testament to the work done by Xavi since he replaced the much-maligned Ronald Koeman earlier in the campaign. 

However, they were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage and fell to a defeat to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals, while there was no success in the Copa del Rey either. 

The 2021-22 season came on the back of Lionel Messi's shock departure, as Barca grappled with financial issues that saw the superstar leave for Paris Saint-Germain. 

Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore arrived to bolster the squad in January, though the latter two were on a free transfer and a loan respectively. 

Barca were linked with moves for Mbappe and Haaland. However, Mbappe is weighing up offers from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid while Haaland is joining Manchester City, and Xavi has claimed there was never any chance of the Blaugrana having the financial capability to sign such players. 

 

"Ask me another question," he told a news conference on Saturday. "Mbappe, let him do what he wants, let him be happy.  

"We do not enter into this equation. I do not understand the question. 

"We cannot put a lot of money in. The economic situation is what it is. We did not enter the bidding of Haaland or Mbappe but that is what we have inherited. 

"There is no need to look back. You have to carry on. We have to compete and win titles again, we need to be competitive from now on. 

"The president transmits confidence to me and that we will be able to invest in our squad. We have made a plan and we will try to execute it.  

"The economic situation is serious but it is not my turn to talk about money. I'm here to talk about football. The economic problems are what they are, but let's talk about football." 

One player who has been heavily linked is Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, who plundered 50 goals in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign. 

 

No player across Europe's top five leagues has scored more goals than the Poland striker this season, but he has told Bayern he wishes to leave and will not be signing a new contract, with his deal ending in June 2023. 

However, LaLiga president Javier Tebas on Friday cast doubt on Barca's ability to be able to afford the 34-year-old. 

Asked about Lewandowski, Xavi said: "It is one of the possibilities that may come. He has said it himself.  

"There are some negotiations involved. It will not be easy with Bayern involved." 

One possible outgoing at Barca who could free up funds would be Frenkie de Jong. Both Manchester clubs are credited with an interest in the Netherlands international who joined from Ajax in 2019, though it has been reported the 25-year-old is in no rush to leave the Camp Nou. 

"Here we go back to talking about the economic situation," replied Xavi when pressed on the De Jong speculation.  

"He is, for me, a great player who is very capable and very dominating, he can help us a lot, but we go back to talking about money and I don't want to do that." 

Bayern Munich chief executive Oliver Kahn insists Robert Lewandowski was offered a new contract and will not be allowed to leave in the close season. 

Lewandowski has one year remaining on his existing deal and it was previously reported Bayern could look to sell the striker ahead of the 2022-23 campaign to avoid him going on a free.

The Poland international, who has scored 110 goals over the past three Bundesliga seasons, has asked to leave and said after their final game against Wolfsburg last week that he had not received a proposal for new terms. 

But Kahn denied that is true, telling Welt: "We submitted a concrete offer to his agent, otherwise we wouldn't have said that."

Asked what fee would be required for Bayern to grant Barcelona-linked Lewandowski an exit before the end of his deal, Kahn was defiant. 

"This isn't a question for us. Robert Lewandowski has a contract until 2023 and he will fulfil it," he said. 

"I cannot say how Uli [Hoeness] or Karl-Heinz [Rummenigge] would have acted. When I started here, I was aware that the bar was set very high and that there would be situations where the past would always be brought up. 

"Every situation is different and I act as I believe is right." 

He added: "Bayern is not and will not become a development club. Bayern are still a big force. There are many players who would die to play for us. 

"A development club is forced to sell players every now and then. That's not us. We want to keep our top players for as long as possible.

"That's why we renewed [Joshua] Kimmich, [Leon] Goretzka, [Kingsley] Coman and [Thomas] Muller this season. Jamal Musiala is also key for the future." 

Barcelona are not in a position to finance a deal for Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, according to LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Lewandowski last week confirmed that he has informed Bayern he will not be extending his contract beyond the end of next season.

The Poland international hinted he is interested in a move away from the Allianz Arena in the upcoming transfer window, rather than departing as a free agent in a year's time.

Barca are the favourites to land Europe's most prolific striker, with head coach Xavi insisting age would not be a barrier when it comes to his rebuild project.

However, uncertainty lingers over whether Barca have the financial clout to make a move as they attempt to come through an economic crisis that has hit Camp Nou hard.

And unless certain players, such as midfielder Frenkie de Jong, are sold to bring in additional funds, Tebas does not see the Lewandowski transfer being a possibility.

"The numbers are easy: if you have more than €500million losses from the past two years, you have to recover money," Tebas is quoted as saying by Spanish publication Sport.

"Lewandowski has one year left at Bayern. Between what he wants to earn and what Bayern want to take... as of today I don't see him at Barcelona. Other things must happen.

"Selling players could be enough, depending on how much they raise and what Lewandowski costs. It could be €100m plus that is saved.

"De Jong could give them that possibility, but I don't know if they are even planning to sell. To date they have not sold him."

 

Lewandowski has scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions this season, making him the top scorer among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Next on that list is Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema with 44, followed by Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe with 36 in 45 matches.

Mbappe had been widely expected to join Benzema at Madrid next season, but reports on Friday suggested the forward might decide to stay at PSG.

However, Tebas expects the France international to end up at the Santiago Bernabeu in the coming weeks.

"I think he'll be at Real Madrid, though one day he is white and another day he is black – he changes," Tebas said. "But yes, I think [he'll sign for Madrid].

”I have seen these twists and turns so many times – it's not unexpected, because there are always twists. 

"The feeling I have is that if he had wanted to renew he would have already done so, but I could be wrong."

Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe wants a salary of €50million net and Barcelona had no interest in going that high, according to Joan Laporta. 

World Cup-winning attacker Mbappe has reportedly agreed personal terms to make a free-transfer switch to Madrid after his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires next month, though the Ligue 1 champions still hope to persuade him to stay.

The 23-year-old, who has scored 168 goals and supplied 77 assists in 216 games in all competitions for PSG, had also been linked with a switch to Barca.

However, the Catalan giants' president insists they would not have been willing or able to get anywhere near his demands.

"There are things that even if we had the money to do it, we wouldn't because it distorts our wage bill and that cannot happen again. It is something we are instilling in the club in all areas," Laporta told Catalunya Radio.

"We can't go past a certain level of spending. Mbappe is asking for 40-50 million [euros] net. He wants 50 [million euros] net. Mbappe is at the highest level but hasn't won the Champions League. That must also be taken into account.

"We will not talk about salaries of 25, 30 or 40 [million euros] net. It would be offensive to players who are expected to be a reference in world football and are just starting out at Barcelona. We are not going to do that, nor do we want to."

Barca have been tipped to sign another of European football's elite strikers in the form of Robert Lewandowski, though.

Lewandowski does not wish to extend his Bayern Munich contract, which has a year to run, and he could become available for a transfer before the start of the 2022-23 season.

Asked if the Poland international will sign for Barca, Laporta said: "Let's let the football management and technical secretariat work. I don't want to answer in detail.

"We are working to be more competitive, but it's not easy due to the economic situation. We are working to clean up the club's finances. Then we can do things.

"I hope to be able to say that in a year we have largely cleaned up the club's finances. If we manage to clean it up, all the operations we are contemplating will be able to be dealt with."

A departure for Frenkie de Jong could be one way Barca look to raise funds, but Laporta was unwilling to divulge much when asked about the Netherlands midfielder.

"There are Barcelona players who are coveted on the market and we will do what is best for Barcelona," he said.

"If we manage to clean up the club's finances, we will have fair play, cash … I don't know if there will be sales."

Barcelona are reportedly in the box seat to land Leeds United winger Raphinha in the next transfer window.

Raphinha, 25, is believed to be finished with Leeds, regardless of if they remain in the Premier League for next season.

After a season where he has so far scored 10 goals and provided three assists in 34 Premier League appearances – including a goal away at Stamford Bridge – the Brazilian international is said to have his selection from some of the world's best clubs.

TOP STORY – BARCA LEAD RACE FOR LEEDS' RAPHINHA

According to 90min, Raphinha favours a move to Barcelona if all things are equal, but the Spanish giants will have plenty of competition for his services.

If Leeds are relegated to the Championship, a release clause in Raphinha's contract will mean he can be had for £25million, although it could be double that – or more – if the Whites retain their Premier League status.

Vying with Barca will reportedly be West Ham, who supposedly made a bid in the January window, as well as Newcastle United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail is reporting Ilkay Gundogan will be allowed to leave Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, with one year remaining on his deal.

– According to The Guardian, Chelsea have entered the Robert Lewandowski sweepstakes, although he is believed to be destined for Barcelona.

Newcastle will test the waters to see if Jose Mourinho could be lured away from Roma, according to Marca.

– Marca also reports that Kylian Mbappe has agreed to a five-year deal with Real Madrid, although The Athletic insists no paperwork has been signed and PSG still hope to retain the France star.

Bayern Munich are showing interest in Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele ahead of his contract expiring in a month's time, per Sky Sports.

Julian Nagelsmann 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 Lewandowski.

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."

Nagelsmann said 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 Monchengladbach in the DFB-Pokal.

Before any calm descends, the Lewandowski situation may have to be resolved.

The 33-year-old 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 Muller sang the praises of Lewandowski, but said the club would find a way to succeed without him.

"FC Bayern is constantly changing," Muller 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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