Rodgers ready for summer raid

Borussia Dortmund’s general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke has told

Bayern Munich to come clean about their interest in Robert

Lewandowski.

Several German newspapers and television channels have claimed a

deal has already been struck between Lewandowski and Bayern, and

that the transfer will be announced after the two sides meet in the

quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal later this month.

Both sides have rubbished the reports, Dortmund more vehemently

than Bayern, leading Watzke to demand Bayern make their intentions

clear.

“The whole issue is really getting on my nerves,” he said.

“There are two scenarios: the first is that Bayern have no interest

in Robert, in which case it’s all a load of rubbish.

“The other scenario is that they are interested, and then they

have got to lift their cover at some stage and come to us with an

enquiry.

“Bayern are usually correct and if they have any interest in a

player, they will make contact.

“When they do that, they will get an answer. Maybe that would

even surprise them, but as long as they carry on saying they have

no interest or for as long as they don’t do anything, then we don’t

care.

“Robert is playing here, playing very well too, and there is

nothing more to say.”

Lewandowski’s contract with Dortmund still has 18 months left to

run on it, but Watzke is starting to accept that he does not want

to extend that deal and that there could indeed be something behind

the speculation.

“He has had the chance (to extend) and we have got to be

realistic and if he has not taken that chance up to now, then the

probability of him doing so is not getting any higher,” he told Sky

television.

“But that has nothing to do with whether he plays for us next

season or not.

“That is entirely dependent on us, considering the contractual

situation, which is why we are pretty relaxed about the whole

thing.”

Bayern, for their part, have tried to ignore the issue this

weekend with their director of sport Matthias Sammer saying he has

nothing to add on the subject.

“We’ve not said anything about it in the past and we are not

going to say anything now, and not tomorrow either,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing to say about the issue from our

side. I have said what I wanted to say and what had to be

said.”

With Liverpool set to miss out on Champions League qualification

for a fourth successive season, Rodgers knows the likes of Luis

Suarez and Daniel Agger will be targets for other clubs come the

summer.

But the 40-year-old, while admitting he is prepared to ward off

interest, says it is part and parcel for any club.

Rodgers said: “Even clubs that have won the league are faced

with having to keep hold of their players.

“So there’s always going to be speculation about players here

and we expect that to happen again.

“I am a realist. We’ve got some outstanding players here who

other clubs will show interest in but I can only speak from my

experience of working with the players here and I think they are

all happy.

“Last summer was a pivotal time. A lot of players could have

left and we did lose a lot of experience when Maxi Rodriguez and

Craig Bellamy left.

“But the rest of them decided to stay and some even signed new

deals. They all seem happy. They seem to want to be here as we move

the club forward.”