Robert Lewandowski looks unlikely to become a Manchester United player this summer despite manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitting his interest in the Borussia Dortmund striker.
Lewandowski has continued to be the subject of transfer speculation since hitting four goals in Borussia Dortmund’s 4-1 victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal last week.
United’s interest in the 24-year-old dates back to at least last summer when they had an approach rejected by his Bundesliga side. In recent weeks there have been reports that Lewandowski has already agreed to join Bayern Munich to follow in the footsteps of his current Dortmund teammate Mario Gotze, whose move to the newly crowned champions was revealed last week.
While agent Malik Barthel admitted that his client was a fan of the Premier League, he heavily suggested that he would not be moving to England in the near future.
"I can tell you only one thing -- Robert is interested in the future coming to the Premier League,” he said, according to the Guardian. “The Premier League is very interesting for Robert. How long is the future, I cannot say to you. I think this summer is not the future."
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Those comments imply one of two potential outcomes: either that Lewandowski will remain at Dortmund for the final year of his contract, as the club have said is their preference, or that the Poland international will join Bayern.
Barthel was coy when asked about a move to the Bavarians.
“I don’t know,” he said.
In recent days Ferguson stated that he believed that Dortmund would push to sell their prized asset to a foreign club.
"If the right player comes along you have to be prepared to make a move,” he explained. “I can find room for anybody here as long as they have the required quality.
“I am not sure Lewandowski will be sold to Bayern now. The Dortmund fans are not going to be happy and I don't think they will sell to their main rivals. I think they will either let his contract run out, or sell him somewhere else."
According to the Sunday Times, Lewandowski is not the only Dortmund player to have caught the attention of Ferguson. The newspaper reports that the United boss also hopes to sign midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.
While Lewandowski made the headlines in the victory over Real Madrid, Dortmund’s relentless work rate off the ball and quality when in possession was embodied by the Germany international. That performance is said to have impressed Ferguson, although he has followed the player since his time at Nuremberg prior to signing for Dortmund in 2011.
Gundogan is believed to be valued at £20 million.
While Gundogan will be hard to pry from Dortmund, he appears a likelier midfield acquisition than Juventus’s Arturo Vidal. The Chile international has long been cited as a target for the Premier League champions but he has said that he wants to stay in Turin.
"I am happy in Turin and with Juventus,” he revealed, according to TalkSport.
"I will stay here next season and [try to] win everything. I always aspire to improve as a player and here I have the confidence of the club and coach."
United could have more success with another reported long-time target currently plying his trade in Italy. Udinese central defender Mehdi Benatia is believed to be attracting interest from several Premier League sides, reports Metro, and the player has revealed that he would be keen on a move to a major club in England.
“I am enjoying my time in Italy -- the league is very good,” Benatia said, according to Metro.
“It would always be my first choice, unless one of the huge English teams that follows me makes a bid.
“If there is a big offer from there, I would definitely consider it, but otherwise I’ll stay in Italy.”