Borussia Dortmund will not allow striker Robert Lewandowski to move to Bayern Munich this summer, though he may go elsewhere. Bayern have said that this did not impact on the potential sale of Mario Gomez.
Having said that Robert Lewandowski "definitely won't be going to Bayern Munich in 2013," Borussia Dortmund's chairman also seemed to offer something of an olive branch to the unsettled Polish striker - in the form of 'ABB,' or 'anywhere but Bayern' - in an interview published on Monday.
"We don't want to slam the door completely shut," Watzke told German sports news agency SID. "It could be that [Lewandowski] does go somewhere else. But our explicit goal is for him to stay with us."
Lewandowski's contract with Borussia Dortmund expires in the summer of 2014 and the Polish striker has expressed a desire to leave - both personally and through his agent. Without a contract extension, he could leave Dortmund on a free transfer next summer.
German sports media outlets estimate that Dortmund would probably entertain offers in the region of 30 million euros ($39.6 million) for the striker, who has scored 46 goals in the Bundesliga alone over the past two seasons. That two-year tally puts Lewandowski top of the division, although Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling outscored the Pole in the most recent campaign. Lewandowski also made history in Dortmund's Champions League semifinal first leg against Real Madrid, netting all four of the goals that ultimately saw his side through to the final at Wembley.
Bayern have already poached one of Dortmund's key attacking players, luring Mario Götze across the German divide and paying a release clause of around 38 million euros written into Götze's contract. Lewandowski does not have a fixed fee written into his Dortmund deal.
English Premier League sides including Manchester United and Chelsea have previously been linked with Lewandowski, though none as strongly or persistently as Dortmund's bitter rivals Bayern.
Gomez future 'completely independent'
Bayern Munich said on Monday that German international Mario Gomez's future was unconnected with Dortmund's decision.
A number nine in the same mold as Lewandowski, already struggling for first-team football against overachieving summer signing Mario Mandzukic, Gomez was considered doubly likely to depart if Bayern bought in another star striker.
Bayern Munich's chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and sporting director Matthias Sammer were both quoted in the German football magazine Kicker as saying that Gomez's fate was "completely independent" from Lewandowski. Bayern are reportedly looking for a similar sum, around 30 million euros, for Gomez - who scored twice in the German Cup final, when Bayern beat Stuttgart 3-2 on June 1.
Gomez's agent, Uli Ferber, who said last week that a transfer seemed the most likely scenario, said on Monday that there was no rush to ink any potential summer switch - pointing to the need to find the right deal.
"It's still the case that Mario will only go to a club where he is the first-choice striker," Ferber said.
Italian clubs Juventus and Fiorentina have been linked with Gomez, as have wealthy Premiership outlets Manchester City and Chelsea.
Even without Lewandowski, Bayern still have Mandzukic and veteran Claudio Pizarro - expected to extend his contract in the next few days. Furthermore German internationals Thomas Müller and Mario Götze, both happiest in attacking midfield roles, have been known to play at the sharp end - with incoming Bayern coach Pep Guardiola famed for using Lionel Messi as a so-called "false 9" role in his latter days with Barcelona.
msh/pfd (dpa, SID)