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Robert Lewandowski to join Bayern Munich in 2014

Jul 9, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

FBL-EUR-C1-BORUSSIA-DORTMUND-MALAGA Getty Images

The race for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has finished.

Looks like he’s heading to Bayern Munich. But not for another season.

In a dramatic twist in one of the summer’s lengthiest transfer saga’s, Lewandowski will remain at Dortmund before joining Bayern next summer… for free.

Dortmund’s head coach Jurgen Klopp announced Lewandowski’s intentions. “I think it is a known fact that Robert is going to play for Bayern after the upcoming season,” he told Welt am Sonntag. “Now the only question is how to shape the time until then.”

While today, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says his club have “tried to negotiate with Dortmund” this summer but that BVB weren’t interested in selling Lewandowski. Now, as Rummenigge also confirmed, the Polish international striker will leave for absolutely nothing next summer when he is out of contract.

Bad business? Stubborn? Or just sick and tired of selling their best young talent to Bayern?

These are questions that will be thrown Dortmund’s way as fans aim to make sense of the situation concerning Lewandowski.

The 24-year-old striker has wanted to leave for quite some time, he has been a star for Dortmund not just last season but the season before that. Lewandoski has scored 46 goals in 65 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and his overall tally for Dortmund stands at 75 in 139 games.

(MORE: Highlights as Lewandowski  explodes, scores four against Madrid as Dortmund win 4-1)

He burst onto everyone’s radar with his performances during the 2012-13 Champions League campaign, with his four goals against Real Madrid in the semifinal first leg propelling his side to the Wembley showdown with Munich.

Now that clubs in England and Spain have stopped chasing Lewandowski and he is on the move to Bayern, can we blame him for wanting out? Not really.

Dortmund have a young, exciting squad of players who are hungry to prove themselves. They reached the Champions League final as huge underdogs last season and hugely overachieved, some might say.

(MORE: Dortmund in a pinch as Lewandowski rejects Real Madrid offer)

But was last season as good as it gets for Dortmund? With midfield sensation Mario Götze already joining Bayern and Lewandowski on the way, Dortmund have to drastically change their business model if they want to keep hold of their best players. Lewandowski’s wages of $2.25 million per year are miserly compared to the salaries on offer at Bayern, that is one of the biggest reasons why Bayern will continue to cherry-pick the top talent from their Bundesliga rivals.

Where Lewandowski will fit into the Bayern squad is an intriguing question, but Mario Gomez left for Fiorentina yesterday and Croatian forward Mario Mandžukić will be Lewandowski’s only main rival for the central striker’s role.

So, Dortmund didn’t sell their star man this time. They have missed out on a transfer fee but were unwilling to deal with Bayern as relations between the clubs continue to be strained following the handling of Götze’s transfer.

Will BVB’s stubborn nature stop them from keeping up with the giants of European soccer? Unless they make smart business decisions and increase their wage bill then inevitably they’ll be left behind.

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