Both Bild and kicker reported about the Rekordmeister’s interest in the 24-year-old Austrian striker. Both papers reported that there was already a meeting between the club and his agency, SPOCS Global Sports. Kalajdzić is not expected to arrive on his own; the club is also exploring the possibility to sign Sadio Mané from Liverpool.
Mané, of course, is with the same agency (ROOF) as current Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry. Although Mané can play all three attacking roles in Jürgen Klopp‘s 4-3-3 at Liverpool, the 30-year-old Senegalese forward, who has scored 22 goals and five assists in 49 games for Liverpool, would not be a direct Lewandowski replacement.
“He wouldn’t be a Lewandowski replacement for me; he’s not an out and out number nine,” Premier League and Bundesliga journalist Chris Williams said to Transfermarkt. “Mané, a wide forward, who originally operated on the left but has been coached by Klopp to work on either flank and now, over the last season, more centrally—this new central element makes his goal contributions higher, but it doesn’t make him a center-forward.”
Wiliams added: “Mané is a creator of space, a facilitator for goals being scored, as well as a player who can score them; he isn’t a traditional center forward who could play at the point of a 4-2-3-1, for example, his strengths would be wasted there.” Mané then would have a hard time to replace Lewandowski on the pitch.
Mané to replace Lewandowski at Bayern? – Maybe off the pitch
Off the pitch, it would be a different topic. Mané is a world star and would immediately shoot up the internal hierarchy at Bayern. The Liverpool star is also the sort of player that could help feather the outcry of Bayern fans should Lewandowski get sold to Barcelona.
Kalajdžic, in turn, would be the player to take the more central role. But within the Bayern camp, there are some doubts that the 24-year-old Austrian forward has the class to fill the void left by Lewandowski. Kalajdzić has managed 22 goals and eight assists in 48 Bundesliga games (0.55 per game). Lewandowski has scored 312 goals in 344 Bundesliga games. But it is worth pointing out that Lewandowski managed just 40 goals in his first 67 games for Borussia Dortmund (0.60 goals per game).
The two are not too far apart in their trajectory in terms of goals per game. Lewandowski was two years younger, but Kalajdzić had to overcome significant knee surgery and only recently rediscovered his goalscoring form—he did, however, regain his form in time to help his club Stuttgart avoid relegation. Standing at 200cm, Kalajdzić is also a very different forward than Lewandowski.
In other words, neither Mané nor Kalajdzić are Lewandowski replacements. But the Rekordmeister will have to undergo a paradigm shift without Lewandowski either way and no matter what, entirely replacing the Polish goalscoring machine will be impossible.