With Lewandowski, the Bayern Businessmen Continue Their Shrewd Approach

Jerrad Peters@@jerradpetersWorld Football Staff WriterJanuary 4, 2014

POZNAN, POLAND - NOVEMBER 19: Poland's Robert Lewandowski controls the ball during the International friendly match between Poland and Ireland at the Inea Stadium on November 19, 2013 in Poznan, Poland.  (Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)
Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images

That Robert Lewandowski was headed to Bayern Munich ahead of next season was the worst-kept secret in football.

But that Bayern waited until now to do the deal—until there were only six months left on the Poland international’s pact at Borussia Dortmund—was an astute piece of business from a club that has developed a reputation for shrewdness in recent seasons.

The coming expiration of the 25-year-old’s current contract meant he could negotiate with any club he chose, and that Dortmund would receive precisely nothing upon his exit.

And Bayern, who already possess a top-end striker in the form of Mario Mandzukic, will go into the 2014-15 campaign with a pair of goalscorers they acquired for just over €10 million—the amount Wolfsburg charged for Mandzukic in 2012.

Yes, Bayern have spent big in each of the last two summers, first signing Javi Martinez for €40 million and then triggering Mario Gotze’s buyout clause with a €37 million bid, but both players were specifically targeted by the club, and they are surrounded by talent that was assembled rather more economically.

The central defensive partnership that helped the club to its historic treble last spring, for example (Jerome Boateng and Dante), was put together for slightly more than €18 million, or 80 per cent the cost of one Joleon Lescott.

Dante, left, and fellow defender Jerome Boateng were acquired for just over 18 million euros.
Dante, left, and fellow defender Jerome Boateng were acquired for just over 18 million euros.Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Youngsters Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago Alcantara, meanwhile, were snapped up for a combined €31.6 million—about what Manchester United paid for Marouane Fellaini.

All the while Bayern have continued to populate their squad with players either developed by the club or brought into its setup by their 18th birthdays—players such as Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba.

Framed another way, the starting lineup that took the club to Champions League glory last May was put together for roughly €140 million over six years, less than what Manchester City spend in a matter of months in 2010.

Or slightly more than one Gareth Bale and one Asier Illarramendi.

And they’ve improved that side by adding a world-class striker to it for free.