The summer transfer window is yet to open officially, but the rumour mill is already in overdrive.
Barcelona, who are staring at a hugely vital window, have lofty plans for the summer as they look to equip manager Xavi Hernandez with a strong squad that can challenge Real Madrid for top honours.
One of the priority targets for Barcelona heading into the summer is the recruitment of a new centre-forward. The Catalan giants want to have a world-class No. 9 up top, even though they signed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January, as they look to fill the void left by Lionel Messi.
Erling Haaland had been earmarked as the preferred target for a while, but with the Norwegian opting to join Manchester City, Barça have turned their focus towards Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.
The 33-year-old is entering the final year of his deal with the German champions and has made it abundantly clear that he does not wish to continue at the Allianz Arena beyond the summer.
But, Die Roten are reluctant to let their superstar leave and have reiterated publicly that the striker still has a year left on his deal and will fulfil it. Despite their insistence, the Bavarian giants’ transfer activity might hint otherwise.
Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich?
As per recent reports in Germany, Bayern Munich are pushing to sign Liverpool forward Sadio Mane. The Senegalese speedster is also entering the final year of his contract, much like Lewandowski, and talks over a new deal are yet to take place with the Reds.
And, Bayern Munich are hoping to capitalise on the situation and make a play for the 30-year-old forward, who has enjoyed a memorable 2021/22 campaign with club and country.
Indeed, Mane has won the FA Cup and the League Cup with Liverpool and is in the finals of the UEFA Champions League. He also led Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations triumph earlier this year.
A versatile attacker who can play anywhere across the frontline, Bayern’s interest could be perceived as them preparing for the departure of Lewandowski.
While the Senegalese speedster might not be as prolific as the Poland international, he offers world-class quality and experience at the highest level. In addition to that, they plan to add Sasa Kalajdzic to their roster in order to add more goals to their frontline.
Mane to open the door for Lewandowski to Barça?
If Bayern Munich are to land Mane, as well as Kalajdzic, it could very well open the door for Barcelona to get their hands on Lewandowski. The 33-year-old is already believed to have an agreement over a €9 million per year contract with the Catalans.
The move is only being held up due to Bayern’s reluctance to do business. But, if they manage to secure adequate replacements, it could open the doors for the striker’s transfer to Camp Nou.
However, there could be a possibility that Bayern are looking at Mane as a possible replacement for Serge Gnabry, whose contract also expires in 2023. In such a case, they might be planning with the Liverpool star and Lewandowski in the scheme of things.
The former Red Bull Salzburg and Southampton star is still likely to hold talks with Liverpool over a new contract. So, a clearer picture should emerge in the coming days once the Reds’ UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid is out of the way.