Berlin (AFP) – Top striker Robert Lewandowski has said Bayern Munich must spend more on star players or risk being left trailing their rivals.
“Bayern have to think something up and be more creative if the club wants to attract a world-class player to Munich,” Lewandowski told magazine Der Spiegel in a critical interview.
“If you want to play on the front foot, you need the quality players.”
Bayern set a new Bundesliga record in June by signing France midfielder Corentin Tolisso from Lyon for 41.5 million euros ($49.9m).
However, the figure was dwarfed by the 222 million euros Paris Saint-Germain, who Bayern face in their Champions League group, paid Barcelona for Neymar.
In July, Bayern president Uli Hoeness described the inflated fees as “madness. That’s something that we will refuse totally at Bayern”.
However, Lewandowski says they need to spend big if they are realistic about winning the Champions League for the first time since 2013.
“To date, Bayern has never paid more than around 40 million euros for a player,” added the Poland striker.
“In international football, that has long since been a figure which is only average, rather than at the top.”
Lewandowski says the gap between what Bayern spend and what PSG paid for Neymar and France striker Kylian Mbappe, who they signed in a deal which could reach 180 million euros, is “really huge”.
“Paris has bought up a world-class squad, whether or not that will become a world-class team, we will have to wait and see,” said Lewandowski.
“Bayern Munich, as a team, has experienced a lot together.
“Football is pure capitalism, everyone wants to make money in this sector.”
Lewandowski says European football’s governing body UEFA should investigate the huge transfers in a thinly-veiled attack on PSG.
“UEFA must look into the huge transfers this summer and work alongside FIFA to close any holes in the regulations,” added Lewandowski.
– Rotating stars –
Meanwhile, head coach Carlo Ancelotti says rotation will sort out any issues in his star-studded squad as Bayern start a heavy fixture list.
The defending champions are at Hoffenheim on Saturday in the first of six matches this month.
Bayern host Anderlecht on Tuesday in their opening Champions League match, then Mainz, Schalke, Wolfsburg and travel to face PSG in rapid succession.
Germany star Thomas Mueller was left out of the starting line-up for the 2-0 win at Werder Bremen a fortnight ago while new signing James Rodriguez is also in contention for the attacking midfield role after injury.
Mueller moaned to the German media after being benched at Bremen, but Ancelotti says no player has a guaranteed place.
“He (Mueller) is fit, he could play tomorrow, but we have a lot of good and important players and I can’t go through the season with 11 players,” said Ancelotti.
“I can give no guarantees.
“We have to rotate, there will always be someone on the bench or even in the stands.”
Mueller’s disgruntlement on Bayern’s bench did not pass by the Germany set-up with national team manager Oliver Bierhoff wishing “that someone in the club would say, ‘he must play'”.
“I thank everyone who makes suggestions to me, but I don’t need them. I know what I have to do and I don’t worry about it,” replied Ancelotti.