A chat with Niko Kovac has persuaded striker Robert Lewandowski that his future is with Bayern Munich. Kovac has also dismissed rumors of a move for Ante Rebic, while Jerome Boateng is unlikely to join Manchester United.
As the dust settled on the 2017-18 season, Robert Lewandowski's prolific, trophy-laden four year spell with the German champions seemed to be coming to an end.
"Robert feels that he needs a change and a new challenge in his career," his agent, Pini Zahavi said at the end of May. "Bayern management have been informed of this."
But a conversation with new coach Niko Kovac appears to have changed the Polish frontman's mind, or perhaps reminded him that he's contracted to the club until 2021.
"It's true that Robert and I had a conversation last week," Kovac is reported as saying in the latest issue of German publication Sport Bild. "Robert knows how I think about him and what I think of him. The whole club knows the qualities he has."
Few can compare
Those qualities have been critical to Bayern's successes in recent seasons, with Lewandowski breaking the 40-goal mark in each of his last three campaigns. But towards the end of last term, the former Borussia Dortmund man drew some criticism from Bayern fans for a perceived lack of effort and a drop in performance, particularly in the Champions League semifinal loss against Real Madrid- the club he was expected to join.
Though Bayern acquired Sandro Wagner in January as Lewandowski's backup, the 29-year-old is as close to irreplacable as it comes, with very few frontmen able to compare to the Pole, as Kovac acknowledged.
"He is certainly among the top three strikers in this position worldwide. We certainly won't let him leave. That's what I told him. Robert accepted that. I really enjoyed that [he did]."
While it looks like Lewandoski will line up for Bayern in their Bundesliga opener against Hoffenheim on August 24, it won't be alongside Ante Rebic.
No big money arrival for Kovac, yet
The Croatian winger, who excelled as Kovac's Eintracht Frankfurt shocked Bayern in the German Cup final, will not be joining his old boss at the Allianz Arena.
"Ante is a strong personality and great player, who has developed well the last two years at Frankfurt and at the World Cup with Croatia. But if you look at our squad, you see that we have plenty of quality in that position. So signing Ante Rebic therefore makes no sense for us."
Bayern have yet to spend big money on high profile signings to aid their new boss in the way they did with the previous two permanent appointments. Carlo Ancelotti welcomed Mats Hummels and Renato Sanches for a combined €70 million ($81 million) early in his tenure while Guardiola was furnished with Thiago and Mario Götze (combined €62 million) when he moved to Bavaria in 2013.
Boateng doesn't fancy United move
With just over three weeks remaining of the summer transfer window, Bayern have only spent money on Canadian wonderkid Alphonso Davies, though they did snap up former Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka on a free.
Bayern's top brass have suggested that they expect Kovac to improve what he has rather than spending lavishly on an already-talented squad.
That roster could still be depleted by the depature of center back Jerome Boateng, although it now appears very unlikely that he'll move to Manchester United, as has been rumored in recent days. Widespread media reports on Wednesday claim that the 29-year-old phoned United boss Jose Mourinho personally to tell him he didn't want to return to Manchester, where he played for cross-city rivals Manchester City before joining Bayern.
Paris Saint-Germain are still though to be interested in the Germany international, who has been told he can leave Bayern for the right price. But for Lewandowski, it seems there's currently no such fee.