Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed his understanding that striker Robert Lewandowski will join Bayern Munich when his contract runs out next season.
24-year-old Lewandowski has been much sought-after throughout Europe after his goal-scoring exploits for Dortmund, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid all clamouring for his signature alongside the Bavarians.
Bayern appear to have succeeded in the chase however, and could be set to snap up Lewandowski, previously touted at around £30million, for nothing as his contract runs out at the end of the 2013-14 season.
"I think it is a known fact that Robert is going to play for Bayern after the upcoming season," Dortmund manager Klopp told German national newspaper Welt am Sonntag. "Now the only question is how to shape the time until then.
"That is our concern and it is our commitment to our fans and members to ensure that we will have a more competitive team in the upcoming season."
Lewandowski, who plundered 10 goals in Dortmund’s exhilarating 2012-13 Champions League campaign last season, has long been on the radar of Europe’s elite after joining the Germans in 2010.
The Polish international has scored 54 goals in 98 appearances for Dortmund, with over 30 of those coming last season as Dortmund set up an all-German Champions League final and finished 2nd in the Bundesliga behind Bayern. His four-goal haul against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final placed him firmly on the wishlist of clubs throughout Europe.
Following the departure of midfield starlet Mario Gotze to rivals Bayern on the eve of the Champions League final last season, Klopp has repeatedly expressed his desire to keep the rest of his squad amidst intense interest. Talks with Lewandowski now appear to have broken down though, and the Polish striker has again expressed his wish to leave.
"Up to a certain point we were with Robert’s desire for change and were ready to talk. But nothing happened so we had to eventually say: ‘[A sale] now no longer works for us’," said Klopp.
"And now we want to prove that, with a quality player like Robert, we can be successful in the coming year. Our results in the coming season is what we’re all about. I know that Robert and I see it the same way."