With a move for No 1 target Harry Kane looking increasingly unlikely – as Tottenham refuse to play ball – Manchester City have turned their attention elsewhere. But their alternative isn’t half bad.
City are reportedly weighing up a shock swoop for Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski, who in the past two years has been the most prolific goalscorer in Europe.
What’s more, there’s history here between player and manager. Pep Guardiola signed the Poland captain in 2014 at Bayern, and coached him to two Bundesliga titles and a German Cup in two illustrious seasons at the Allianz Arena.
After making the move from Borussia Dortmund, Guardiola took Lewandowski’s all-round game to the next level.
His chief No 9 in a typically fluid system, Guardiola utilised Lewandowski to supreme effectiveness, with the Pole’s pressing and intuition of the game undeniably improving.
In fact, Lewandowski referenced as much when Guardiola left in 2016, saying: “I can only say that every player – no matter how long he was with us – has learned a great deal from Pep. He improved every single player.
“Guardiola’s footsteps are big. I can only say good things about Guardiola. These two years with him have been a great time, and I have learned many things.”
Goals-wise, the first campaign was slow but steady, with 25 conversions in 49 matches in all competitions. Nonetheless, a German title was secured, though it was disappointment in the Champions League as they succumbed in the semi-finals to a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona.
The following year was similarly contradictory for Pep’s Bayern: double success at home this time, but again an agonising semi-final exit in Europe, this time at the hands of Atletico Madrid.
But this time, in 2015-16, Lewandowski had then the best goalscoring season of his career, netting 42 times over 51 matches.
Then again, with Pep it’s never just about goals. Speaking in the midst of that season, the striker said: “I don’t think the coach approaches me differently when I score more goals.
“Know that I don’t have to score in every single game for the coach to be happy with my performance. Sometimes my movements on the pitch are more important for him, how I exploit the space and how I generally perform.
“Goals not only help me, but the whole team. They’re something the coach doesn’t just expect from me. I am not a striker who is only waiting in the penalty box to score a goal. I move, make passes and look for opportunities for others.”
So, there’s no doubt Guardiola aided Lewandowski’s own game and since then, his record and prowess has only increased.