'Dortmund right to keep Lewandowski'
Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke says that the club acted out of conviction in making sure that Robert Lewandowski sees out the final year of his contract.
BVB refused to give in and sell the Poland international to domestic rivals Bayern Munich last summer after losing star midfielder Mario Goetze to the 2012-13 Treble winners.
Lewandowski, 25, was granted a pay rise for his final year at the Westfalenstadion, and has repaid Juergen Klopp’s side with 22 goals and 13 assists in 32 appearances this season.
The striker signed a five-year deal in January to join Pep Guardiola’s team for free this summer, but Watzke says BVB were justified in how they handled the situation.
"We've acted out of conviction," Watzke told Sport Bild about the decision to keep the striker. "Nobody thought we'd pull this through. But we have this strength to make courageous decisions -- just like Real Madrid."
Watzke explained that he was impressed with Los Blancos' decision to sell Mesut Ozil and reinforce the squad with Tottenham winger Gareth Bale last summer.
"While Mesut Ozil is a really strong player, who can now help Arsenal, it apparently was the right decision for Real," he continued. "The club bosses' courage was justified."
Dortmund could face another situation similar to that of Lewandowski this summer, as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will enter the final year of his BVB contract.
Club officials have reiterated the Germany international will either sign an extension at Dortmund, or could be sold in the summer to cash in before he can leave for free at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Gundogan has not been seen on the pitch since August 2013, with a persistent back injury sidelining the 23-year old holding midfielder.
The club are uncertain when Gundogan will make a return to the team, while German news magazine Focus reported on Tuesday that Bayern and Gundogan's representatives met for exploratory negotiations.
Gundogan has also been linked with a switch to Barcelona, Madrid and Manchester United in the past, but speaking to RN, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc rejected rumours the player leaving.
"We don't talk to Focus or any other media about our players; we talk to the players directly," Zorc said, adding that he could "not confirm" rumours that Gundogan has rejected Dortmund’s contract offer.
"There have been no negotiations with Bayern," Gundogan’s father (and agent) Irfan told the paper.
"Like we’ve said many times, we’ll talk to Borussia Dortmund first. And we’ll stick to that. But the lad has to regain his health first."