Chelsea attempted to sign striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich this summer, according to Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
The Poland international’s move to the Camp Nou was confirmed on Saturday but the Blaugrana have now claimed that Chelsea, alongside French champions Paris Saint-Germain, were also in the running to sign the striker this month.
This contradicts reports that Bayern did not receive any other offers for the 33-year-old, while separate reports have indicated additional Barca payments – which have not been disclosed by the clubs – were included to conclude the deal, which will likely go down as one of the most eye-catching of the summer transfer window.
A report from El Pais outlines how Barca actually paid €60million (£51m) for the transfer, which is €10million more than the amount announced by both clubs – claiming that this was done so that Barca could save face publicly. Elsewhere, Spanish radio station Onda Cero say that a €20million payment was given to Lewandowski’s agent Pini Zahavi to complete the deal.
Barcelona club president Laporta said: “Barca needed a striker who scores and who can be incisive, like any great team. Robert is a machine gunner. He has been awarded the Golden Shoe several times. He guarantees goals and every great team needs a striker who guarantees goals.
With Robert, with Ansu (Fati), with Auba (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang), we have a goal guarantee. Today the careers are longer. On top of that, his (Lewandowski’s) wife is a nutritionist. When you have a woman who takes care of you…!”
Laporta then began talking about future signings, where he claimed that he had beaten off competition from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain to land the signing of Lewandowski. His comments also suggest that the club are eyeing deals for Cesar Azpilicueta – the Blues club captain – and Marcos Alonso – to whom the Blaugrana have been strongly linked.
Laporta added: “Now it’s time to work on defence. Xavi has us focused on a series of players and I hope that the Catalans can have a few more joys. We have competed with teams like PSG and Chelsea to sign Robert and he wanted to come here. thank him. That and the maximum pressure he has had to endure.”
Barca are also competing with Chelsea for the signing of central defender Jules Kounde from Sevilla. Barca have already confirmed the signing into their first-team squad of Andreas Christensen, following the Denmark international defender’s contract at Stamford Bridge expiring.