BAYERN Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is set to join Barcelona after the two clubs reached an agreement in principle on the transfer, the clubs said on Saturday.
The 33-year-old has 12 months remaining on his Bayern contract and multiple media reports had said he was expected to sign a three-year deal with the 26-times Spanish champions.
“We have come to a verbal agreement with Barcelona,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said in a statement.
“It’s good to have clarity for all parties. Robert is an incredible player and he won everything with us. We are incredibly grateful to him.”
Spanish media reported that Barcelona would pay around €45 million ($45.4 million) plus another €5 million in add-ons for the Poland striker.
Lewandowski took part in his last training session with Bayern on Saturday after which he was seen saying goodbye to his teammates, embracing each of them.
He was not present at the team presentation for the 2022-2023 season later in the day. He is expected to join Barcelona on their pre-season US tour, during which he is set to undergo a medical, Spanish media said.
“We spoke at length with our colleagues from Barcelona and clarified the details. He said farewell this morning,” Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidžić said on the club’s website.
“After our trip to the US, he’ll come back one more time and we’ll have a coffee together. We wish him every success at his new club.”
The player’s contract with Barcelona is still pending, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn said.
“We know very well what we have to thank Robert for, but great players have also left FC Bayern in the past, and even after that Bayern’s world did not fall apart. On the contrary, it often continued with even more success,” he added.
Lewandowski joined Bayern in 2014 from Borussia Dortmund and has won the Bundesliga every year since then, as well as the Champions League in 2020.
Named FIFA Best Men’s Player for the second straight year in January, Lewandowski said in May that his story with Bayern was over and he could not imagine staying on with the German champions.
The club was not eager to let the Bundesliga’s second-highest all-time scorer go, but Salihamidžić had confirmed Lewandowski did not accept an offer to extend his contract and was looking for a new experience elsewhere.
Bayern also announced that Germany forward Serge Gnabry, who had been linked by British media with a return to the Premier League, had extended his contract until 2026. — Reuters