Manchester United, City and Chelsea’s hopes of landing Robert Lewandowski increased

Borussia Dortmund have this morning announced that contrary to assumption, Robert Lewandowski will not be sold to Bayern Munich this summer. Sporting Director Michael Zorc is quoted by German tabloid Kicker as saying ‘We have communicated to the player and his advisers that we will not agree to a transfer to FC Bayern this summer.’

Undoubtedly this stance was always what Dortmund wanted but will have been heightened after Bayern stole Mario Götze by activating the release clause in his contract. Lewandowski has intimated that he wants a new challenge and as he only has one year left on his contract he has forced Dortmund in to a position where they would have to sell him or face losing a £30m asset for free next summer. They would therefore surely be willing to agree to sell him to the Premier League rather than their main domestic rivals. Man United have long been linked with him, Chelsea desperately need a striker and Man City may feel it too good an opportunity to miss. So could he end up in England, and if so, where?

Robert Lewandowski

Chelsea would seem to be the most obvious landing spot for Lewandowski. Although they are thought to be deep in negotiations with Edinson Cavani of Napoli, Lewandowski is a player whose destructive capability Jose Mourinho has witnessed first hand. It was the Pole’s four goals against his Real Madrid side that elevated him in to the real upper echelon on a world stage. Cavani and Lewandowski are similar players. Both of them have wonderful technique, good pace and strength and are deadly and consistent finishers. The advantages of going for Lewandowski are the price, thought to be at most £30m rather than £52m, and the fact that he speaks fluent English and has played in a similarly physically demanding league with great success. He is used to the system and showed at Dortmund how good he can be with three attacking midfielders behind him which is exactly what Chelsea have. Chelsea also have the added bait of Romelu Lukaku who Dortmund are known to admire.

Man United is on the surface a less obvious fit but it makes a whole heap of sense. David Moyes has historically preferred a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 system and if United do allow Wayne Rooney to leave they would need a world-class option to pair with Robin van Persie. Both he and Lewandowski would be comfortable roaming around out of the box if required and having to account for both of them would give most defences fits. Lewandowski is a very hard worker, which is a quality David Moyes admires and prises, and the lure of moving to the English champions should be strong for Lewandwoski.

Man City are the outsiders but shouldn’t be counted out. New manager Manuel Pellegrini is being given the playing staff to operate his preferred 4-2-3-1 but there is still room for another attacker. If they decide not to move for Isco they may well go for Lewandowski. That would allow Sergio Aguero to drop in to the number 10 role where he played at times last year and where he could be very dangerous running from deep. Lewandowski has the technical skill to work with the three men behind and the finishing ability to make the most of the chances they would create for him.

All three of the teams could afford the price and all three could very much use Lewandowksi in their sides. He would offer qualities that none of them have and allow others to be better maximised. Dortmund will not sell Lewandowski to Bayern and rather than losing him to them next summer for free they would be better trying to sell him now. The big three Premier League clubs should have the advantage over Monaco or PSG and with Real Madrid focusing their attention on Luis Suarez, we could be set for a top three battle to sign Robert Lewandowski.

Chelsea and Hulk: Not an ideal solution

It has been reported in the press today that Chelsea may well make a move for Hulk this summer to further their options in attack. Roman Abramovich was hot on the heels of the Brazil international last summer, but the South American chose a move to Zenit St Petersburg instead. However, with Hulk unsettled in Russia, should Chelsea reignite their attempts to sign him?

On first glance it appears that Hulk may well  be what the Blues need – physical, strong, fast with an excellent goal scoring record. However while placing your bet on your favorite team in Soccer other options should be considered; the Stamford Bridge club will have more suitable players available to them for the astronomical transfer fee that it will take to bring Hulk to west London.

Hulk

Despite his physical attributes, Hulk fancies himself as a ball player and in traditional Brazilian style wants to drop deep to get involved in possession. There is nothing wrong with this, however that type of player is not what is needed at Chelsea. With the likes of Oscar, Eden Hazard and the mercurial Juan Mata as playmakers, another player dropping into the mix to play passes is unnecessary.

With the creative players at the club’s disposal, an out-an-out finisher and goalscorer is needed to convert chances rather than another technical ball player. In that respect Hulk’s former Porto teammate Radamel Falcao is a much closer fit, as is someone like Edinson Cavani or Robert Lewandowski.

One must also quest Hulk’s motivations, after Chelsea lost out to Zenit in the battle for his signature last summer. The South American has followed the money to play in Russia, and after realising that he does not want to be there now is ready to jump ship; this despite the fact that he only moved to Zenit in September.

Chelsea need team players and characters that are ready to battle to win close games. As talented as Hulk is, it appears that he is not the right player for the Blues, and has questionable motives. Given the huge potential transfer fee also, Mr. Abramovich would be best spend his money elsewhere.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham: Each club’s perfect summer signing

With 10 games still to go in this season’s Premier League, some may argue it is too early for us to be commenting on future arrivals.  But this is football – half of what is written is hypothesis.

The truth is, every manager already has their summer wishlist, so here is a look at the one player each of the current top four should be seriously considering if they want to improve next season.

Manchester United – Mats Hummels

For years, fans and pundits alike have been calling for Sir Alex Ferguson to buy a creative midfielder.  But creativity and link-up play don’t seem to be a problem anymore. Not with the emergence of Shinji Kagawa, whose first season has been stop-start but who, at just 23, has all the attributes to be a silent superstar; and not with Nick Powell and Wilfried Zaha waiting in the wings.

Instead United should be looking for a long-term successor to Rio Ferdinand. And in Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, they would be signing one of the best young defenders in Europe.

Mats Hummels

The 24-year-old has already made over 150 appearances for the reigning Bundesliga champions and is regularly linked with moves away from the club he is contracted to until 2017.

The fact is that when Ferdinand and latterly Nemanja Vidic leave Old Trafford, there are three ready-made replacements in Johnny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. And yet Hummels’ pace, strength and ability to read the game would seal a hole that has too often been gaping this season, and at its best has been temporarily boarded-up.

With Hummels forming a regular partnership with one of the above, that hole wouldn’t be big enough to get a ball through without a whole lot of effort. But it will take a big bid to get him.

Manchester City – James Rodriguez

The 20-year-old Columbian winger has been regularly linked with United, but it is City who are in most need of him. Currently at FC Porto, he would bring a new dimension to Roberto Mancini’s team, who too often this season have been lackadaisical and missing the energy and thrust of an out-and-out winger.

James Rodriguez

While unquestionably talented, the Blues’ forward line has lost some of its mojo since outscoring their city rivals last year, and for every intricate David Silva pass or surging run from Carlos Tevez, the addition of lightening pace would make them a terrifying prospect, not least because their defence has now been further fortified by the ever-improving Matija Nastasic.

A consistent goal-threat himself, Rodriguez also has an impressive assist-record and will be a defining capture for whoever ultimately signs him. As with so many players these days, there is talk of an over-inflated release clause (in this case more than £36 million). But as with so many over-inflated release causes, a bid £10 million shy of that could tempt the Portuguese club’s hand and pass the advantage back to City next season.

Tottenham Hotspur – Robert Lewandowksi

The Polish striker is the one player on this list certain to be pulling on a new shirt next season. With only a year left on his contract at Borussia Dortmund, there seems little chance of him signing a new one. And while his current club have produced their best poker face in declaring he will remain should an acceptable offer not arrive, that won’t happen. Reasonable bids will come, as top clubs both in England and abroad compete to sign a man who, quite simply, knows where the goal is.

Robert Lewandowski

With his only criteria likely to be regular football and another crack at the Champions League, a Daniel Levy bid is surely being readied. In fact the addition of Lewandowski could turn Tottenham into viable title challengers.

With new signings Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele excelling this season – and Gareth Bale coming of age – the one thing Spurs fans bemoan is the lack of a consistent goal threat. And while Leandro Damiao will again be linked this summer, Levy should put all his efforts into signing a player who will turn an impressive squad into true contenders, both in England and in Europe.

Chelsea – Romelu Lukaku

When Chelsea paid close to £20 million for the Belgian forward in the summer of 2011, he called the Blues his dream club. But since then he has hardly kicked a ball for them. Instead it is West Bromwich Albion reaping the benefits of a loan deal Lukaku has talked about extending. Quite simply, Chelsea can’t let that happen.

When your best striker is excelling for another club something is wrong. And while he may only be 19, he has shown in a series of outstanding displays for the Baggies that he is ready to be playing first-team football back in London.

Romelu Lukaku

With arguably the most creative midfield in the Premier League, Chelsea’s one problem is their lack of forward options. Fernando Torres was last seen circa 2010, and he is not coming back; while Demba Ba is still dining out on his outstanding debut season for Newcastle.

Whoever is in charge at Stamford Bridge next season, he will be looking for a player who is on the same creative wavelength as Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, a player who scores, creates and can put finishing touches to the patterns his midfield will only get better at creating.

Lukaku is already better than the two men Chelsea currently rely on for goals. If they haven’t yet realised that, they may lose him altogether.

Shinji Kagawa and a glimpse of things to come for Manchester United fans

When Shinji Kagawa joined Manchester United for an initial fee of £12million in the summer, many football observers were calling it a masterstroke.

After all, this was the player who ended his last season at Borussia Dortmund with 17 goals, 10 assists and both a Bundesliga and German Cup winner’s medal.

His partnership with Robert Lewandowski had helped turn Dortmund into the top team in German football, while his ball-control, vision and goal-scoring ability pointed to a 23-year-old who was exactly the kind of playmaker United were crying out for.

Fans frustrated at losing out on Eden Hazard and Lucas Moura could calm themselves in the knowledge that a quieter but no less impressive player was heading their way. And yet this season, the Japanese midfielder-cum-forward has shown only flickers of his undoubted ability.

Shinji Kagawa

That was until Saturday, when his hat-trick against Norwich City ended any doubts that he was cut out for the Premier League, or suited to any position besides that of a second striker.

While his first goal could be argued as a lucky one, his positioning was key, as was the confidence to take it on the outside of his right foot. But it was his second and third that should excite United fans the most.

The nonchalant side-foot finish for his second was that of a player whose thoughts are somehow quicker than the game he is caught up in. While his third saw his first touch dissect the Norwich defence and his second touch delicately chip the onrushing ‘keeper.

After each goal he celebrated only with a smile, as if he was used to it, or at least had been, and he was simply relieved it was happening once more.

One game does not make a player. Just ask Andrei Arshavin. But on Saturday, Kagawa showed what he is capable of. And the fans who have seen glimpses of his passing ability and ball-retention over the last six months, have now seen what he can do when he is fit and a little more used to his surroundings.

Ultimately, his best performances may come at Old Trafford, when opponents tire and the attacking intent of his teammates leads to holes for him to exploit. And certainly away against the top sides both domestically and in Europe his ability to keep the ball may prove more important than where he can put it. But for fans crying out for a creative, goal-scoring midfielder, Saturday may have seen him stake his first claim for the job.

The rumours continue that Kagawa’s former teammate Lewandowksi will be joining him at Old Trafford next season. Whether they need him is another matter. But with or without him, Kagawa has found his feet.

They are very special feet indeed. And by next season, they could have the beating of most.

Manchester United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham? Where will Robert Lewandowski end up?

One player that looks set to move to a top Premier League club this summer is Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski. The Polish frontman has impressed for the German champions over the last 18 months, but seems eager to take that next step. With a number of English clubs chasing the attacker, where will he end up?

Lewandowski has proven himself over the last year-and-a-half as a top striker, and deserves the plaudits and the transfer rumours of moves to big clubs. Initially it was something of a shock when the eastern European broke into the Signal Iduna Park line-up, displacing Lucas Barrios. However, Lewandowski has taken his opportunity with both hands, scoring on a regular basis and playing a big part in a domestic double for Jurgen Klopp’s men last term.

Robert Lewandowski

44 goals in 87 appearances for Dortmund mean that Lewandowski is an important player for the side, but his contract with the Bundesliga champions is expiring in June 2014. Dortmund director Michael Zorc has recently made it clear that the forward looks likely to search out a move to another club.

“Robert Lewandowski is not going to sign a new contract. We will have to see if he is going to be on the move in the summer.

“His contract runs until 2014. There are two options. Either he goes in June or he stays for another year.”

Manchester United are the favourites in the football betting stakes of the English sides linked with the forward, and it is fair to say that Lewandowski has the right blend of skills and eye for goal to be a hit at Old Trafford. However, with Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa on their books, the current Premier League leaders look more than equipped in attack. That said, with Sir Alex Ferguson using Kagawa and Welbeck on the wings and Rooney dropping deeper each season, an out-and-out striker may well be of interest.

It has been well publicised that Manchester City are in the market for a new striker. Mario Balotelli has been sold, Edin Dzeko is out of favour and Carlos Tevez is temperamental; Sergio Aguero looks like the only one with a long-term future at the club. The Etihad Stadium outfit are said to be keeping tabs on Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao, but should a move for these two fail, Roberto Mancini may look to Lewandowski to bolster his attacking options.

Arsenal have struggled this season, with one of the main reasons being the sale of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Olivier Giroud has failed to find consistency in his first season in England, and the north London side are in real danger of missing out on Champions League football for next season. If bolstering is to be done in the summer a new big-name goalscorer will surely be one of the requirements; Lewandowski fits the bill. The Gunners have also a past record of signing players from Dortmund with Tomas Rosicky and Thomas Eisfeld joining from the German team.

Chelsea are certainly a club in transition, and it remains to be seen who the next Blues boss will be. Demba Ba has been signed to get goals for the club, with Fernando Torres continuing to flounder. The next boss may well say enough is enough and get rid of the misfiring Spaniard, and as such a new frontman could be on the cards for the Stamford Bridge side. Chelsea have been playing one up front with the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard in support; Lewandowski is the perfect lone forward.

Finally, Tottenham are a team on the up and are closing in on a top four finish this term. With ambitions of keeping star players like Gareth Bale at the club and progressing to be a regular Champions League participant, the signing of one or two top players is needed. Spurs have been short up front at times this term, with Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor the only recognised forwards at the club. A move for Lewandowski would be ambitious, but a major coup if it was to materialise.

All-in-all, Lewandowski is a top player, and a number of other leading teams on the continent will look to pry him away from Dortmund in the summer too. However, he has all the attributes to be a success in England, and no doubt a number of the top Premier League sides will be in the hunt for his signature.

Ribery, Huntelaar and other Bundesliga stars set to shine at Euro 2012

Euro 2012 is only a couple of weeks away now, with most nations compiling their initial squads for the tournament and starting to prepare for the competition start on June 6th. Some of the leading players from La Liga, the Premier League and Serie A will be represented, however Euro 2012 betting tips could be impacted by the involvement of a host of players from the Bundesliga. Here are the top five Bundesliga stars ready to impress in Ukraine and Poland.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid forward has had an excellent season this term, impressing for both club and country. The Netherlands international topped the Bundesliga scoring charts this campaign with 29 goals for Schalke, and also netted 12 times for Bert van Marwijk men in European Championships qualifying. Despite Robin van Persie being earmarked as the Oranje main attacking threat and the skill of Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben, Huntelaar has the ability to be a star this summer.

Franck Ribery

The Bayern Munich attacking midfielder continues to show his class and calibre for the Bavarian giants, and after scoring for Jupp Heynckes men against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals. Ribery will be tasked with providing Karim Benzema will goalscoring opportunities and will be charged with offering Les Bleus precision and creativity. Skill, guile and accuracy, Ribery will be one of the main talents at the tournament.

Mats Hummels

The majority of the Germany side ply their squad in the Bundesliga, with Joachim Low’s men one of the favourites for the tournament. Although the German side have some excellent attacking players, Borussia Dortmund central defender Mats Hummels could well play a key role for the team. The centre half has grown in stature over the last 24 months to help the Signal Iduna Park club to consecutive Bundesliga titles. The 23-year-old is a crucial member of the national set-up, and has the ability to follow in the illustrious footsteps of legendary defenders Matthaus, Beckenbauer and Sammer.

Robert Lewandowski

The Borussia Dortmund marksman has had quite the season, making the centre forward position in the champions’ line-up his own by ousting Lucas Barrios, and providing 22 goals in the team’s title charge. The hopes of co-hosts Poland will rest of Lewandowski shoulders, and if the eastern European nation are to make any strides in the tournament the 23-year-old will need to replicate his club form on the national scene. Lewandowski is currently being linked with a move to Manchester United, and a strong Euro 2012 could see him leave the Bundesliga for a leading European club.

Ivica Olic

Croatia have been drawn in a tough Group C alongside holders Spain, Italy and Republic of Ireland, and will need to be at their best to progress through the pool. Although Premier League stars Luka Modric and Nikica Jelavic will be expected to deliver, veteran Bayern Munich attacker Ivica Olic could well play a key role for Slaven Bilic men. The 32-year-old forward has largely played second fiddle to Mario Gomez at the Allianz Arena this term, but showed his ability when given an opportunity against Marseille in the Champions League quarter-finals, scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory.

Published – Bundesliga Fanatic

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich: The young and the new of German football meet

With three points separating the top two teams in the Bundesliga, leaders and champions Borussia Dortmund host perennial powerhouses Bayern Munich in a massive game at Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday. A win for the hosts will all but seal back-to-back titles, whilst an away victory will give the biggest club in German football the impetus to go on to win their title back.

Jurgen Klopp has transformed an underperforming and mediocre Dortmund setup into a well-tuned and talented squad of promising stars since taking over at the club in 2008. The team’s Bundesliga crown last season was the first since 2002, and the 44-year-old trainer has continued where he left off last term in 2011/12. Many feared for Die Borussen after the forced sale of key midfielder Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid and a slow start to the season, whilst Champions League elimination in the group stages proved that the young pretenders have a way to go yet to replicate the historic achievements of the European champions team of 1997.

Despite this, a run of ten wins from 13 league games propelled the holders back to the top of the standings, and the crown is now Dortmund’s to lose. With home advantage and their opponents still with European distractions, Klopp’s young superstars will look to strike a decisive blow on Wednesday. The likes of Mats Hummels, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze (although he will not play through injury) and Robert Lewandowski have shone over a fantastic 24-month period for the club.

Off the pitch, Dortmund recently claimed another victory over their traditionally superior rivals. The signing of Borussia Monchengladbach and Germany attacking midfielder Marco Reus, wanted by the Bavarians also, shows that Klopp’s men are serious in their rejuvenation and could be ready for a period of dominance in the country.

Bayern, by their own admittance, were poor last season but a summer of rebuilding, the arrival of Jupp Heynckes and a better start to the campaign has saw Die Roten back to their ominous best at times this campaign. Despite spending spells on top of the pile and thrashing sides on occasion, inconsistency has crept in at times domestically, which Dortmund have taken advantage of.

With Real Madrid lying in wait in what should be a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final, the Allianz Arena outfit have a potentially memorable end of season ahead of them. However, both Los Blancos and Dortmund will put Bayern under pressure, with the side’s defence still to really prove that it has what takes to challenge for honours. The attacking abilities of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez are not in question, however it is whether Bayern can shut out an attacking-minded Dortmund side that will be the difference in the game.

Dortmund won the reverse fixture 1-0 at the Allianz Arena through a solitary Gotze strike, and despite Bayern’s history, players and prestige will go into this game as favourites. The home side could well be on the verge of a new era of success, with 90 minutes for the young Borussen stars to prove their worth and retain their title.

The Champions, Perennial Giants or Underdogs? Bundesliga title to go down to the wire

This season’s Bundesliga campaign has already been as exciting and enthralling as any in the recent memory, especially given the tightly contested title race. At the time of writing champions Borussia Dortmund sit top of the pile, after a great run of form has made up for a sluggish start. Bavarian giants Bayern Munich have an unbelievable amount of talent at their disposal and want their top flight crown back at the Allianz Arena. Meanwhile, last season’s relegation escapees Borussia Monchengladbach have defied theodds by challenging for top spot with a rock solid defence. But where is the Bundesliga title going in 2011/12?

Borussia Dortmund

After an impressive campaign last year where Jurgen Klopp’s young superstars won the German top flight at a canter, a very slow start to this campaign had many questioning the longevity of the relatively inexperienced group. However, after Champions League expulsion, the Signal Iduna Pak outfit have been able to solely focus on domestic matters, and are now top of the Bundesliga by four points.

Die Borussen have won 12 games in a row in all competitions, and their attacking stars such as Shinji Kagawi and Robert Lewandowski are impressing suitors in Germany and further afield. A blow for the holders has been the injury to key playmaker Mario Gotze, but the side have not missed the Germany international too much as others have stepped up to the plate. Most certainly the team to beat, it is Dortmund’s title to lose with 11 games remaining.

Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich are Germany biggest and most successful team, but when things don’t go to plan the Bavarian team and fans gets rather restless. After losing their first game of the season, Jupp Heynckes’ side hit their straps and bulldozed their way to the top of the standings in impressive fashion. With Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer adding defensive steel to the attacking prowess of Arjen Robben, Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery et al, Bayern looked like a shoe-in for the title.

However, inconsistency and defeats against the other two challengers for the league have seen the Allianz Arena team drop to second. Add to this the fact that they are still in the Champions League, and Die Roten need to up their game, starting with a tricky away fixture against Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena this weekend. The fixture against Dortmund on April 9th could well decide the destination of the crown.

Borussia Monchengladbach

Currently in third place, Borussia Monchengladbach have had a fantastic season to date, and even if they do slip away from title contention must been applauded for going toe-to-toe with the big boys and more than holding their own. Lucien Favre’s side’s success has been largely based around their stellar defensive abilities; the underdogs have only conceded a miserly 14 goals in 23 fixtures this season. Whether or not they can on to finish in the Champions League qualification places or even win the division is in the balance; they are currently in third, five points off the pace.

A downfall to a smaller club’s success is that the inevitable purging of players starts to take effect, and this has been the case at Monchengladbach. Undoubted star Marco Reus is on his way to Dortmund in the summer, Roman Neustadter is heading off to Schalke, whilst Bayern court Brazilian defender Dante. One thing is guaranteed; if Monchengladbach finish first or tenth they should be saluted for their captivating form this season.

Published – Bundesliga Talk

What a difference a year makes: The curious case of Lucas Barrios

Borussia Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios had an up-and-down 2011 at Signal Iduna Park, with the ecstasy of winning the German top flight blighted by a dramatic fall from grace. From talisman, goal machine and Bundesliga winner to outcast in just six months, the Paraguay international was reportedly close to making a deadline day departure from the German champions; but what does 2012 have in store for Barrios?

Signed from Colo Colo in July 2009, Barrios quickly became an integral part of a young and exciting Dortmund team, continuing the goalscoring form which had seen him become a star his homeland. Barrios was the North Rhine-Westphalian club’s top scorer for his first two campaigns, and last season was the making of the South American marksman, as his 19 goals fired Jurgen Klopp’s men to their first Bundesliga title in nearly a decade.

BVB must have been rubbing their hands together after reviewing their capture of La Pantera (the Panther) for just over €4 million; rumours linking Chelsea with a £30 million move for the Paraguayan were rife in the summer of 2011.

But the promise of leading the line for the ambitious German club in this season’s Champions League saw Barrios remain. He was on top of the world, but what goes up must come down.

Barrios was part of the Paraguay side that reached the final of the Copa America in the summer, but a thigh injury meant he had to start the last game from the bench, and returned to Germany unfit after the tournament. A poor pre-season compromised by injury meant the striker missed the start of the 2011/12 campaign, and his replacement Robert Lewandowski grasped the opportunity to play with both hands. The Polish striker has bagged 18 goals in all competitions already this term and has cemented himself a place in Die Schwarzgelben’s first XI.

Barrios has only started one game in 2011/12, and is yet to score in his 11 appearances for Dortmund. Frustration is clearly setting in for the South American, Fulham were reportedly close to sealing a £7 million deal for him on deadline day, while Liverpool have also been reported to be monitoring his situation.

Despite this, Barrios’ dramatic fall from grace should be taken with a pinch of salt; the hitman’s goal record proves testament to his class and quality.  With a reported asking fee of less than £10 million, it is surprising that other bigger clubs did not make more of an effort to sign the striker, with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal in need of attacking reinforcements.

The next year is an important one for Barrios, as at 27-years-old he is can ill-afford to spend the bulk of his time getting splinters and losing sharpness on Dortmund’s bench. The German champions should not forget Barrios’ heroics in last term’s title charge; given an opportunity he could well play a big part in retaining their mantle as the nation’s top team this season.

With 18 months left on his contract, Jurgen Klopp may well be tempted to sell Barrios this summer if his fringe status continues; if this is the case clubs in England, Italy and Spain should take note.

The old adage that form is temporary and class is permanent applies here, and Barrios’ suitors need only to take heed of the forward’s tally of 84 goals in the four seasons before this one as an indication of his enduring quality.

One thing is for sure; he is too good not to be playing regular first-team football in a leading European league. Whether that is with Dortmund or not remains to be seen.

Published – FourFourTwo

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