German club Borussia Dortmund have confirmed Manchester United target Robert Lewandowski has refused to extend his contract. The Polish international's contract expires in 2014 but he may leave earlier, as the Bundesliga champions will risk losing him for free next year.
"Robert will not renew his contract, he is either [leaving] this summer or in the summer of 2014," the club's sporting director, Michael Zorc, told Sky Deutschland.
The news comes close on the heels of the player's agent, Cezary Kucharski, suggesting his client had taken a decision on his future. The 24-year-old forward has been strongly linked with a move to Premier League leaders Manchester United. In fact, an earlier Sky Deutschland report suggested Sir Alex Ferguson had completed a £12m move for the forward but that was never confirmed. Meanwhile, comments from ex-Germany international Lothar Matthaus appeared to indicate Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich had also agreed a deal with rivals Dortmund for Lewandowski's services. However, the rumour was swiftly dismissed by the Bavarians.
Lewandowski has been in prolific form for Dortmund since arriving in 2010, with 59 goals in over 100 appearances for the Westfalenstadion club. He played a major part in Dortmund's Bundesliga win last season, scoring 22 goals and creating eight more in 34 games.
Ferguson on Home Schedule
Meanwhile, the prospect of signing Lewandowski aside, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's immediate concern is the fixtures scheduled. The Old Trafford club play four home games in succession, starting from 2 March, when they entertain Norwich City in a league match. The Canaries' visit is followed almost immediately by the high-profile clash against Spanish giants Real Madrid, in the second leg of the clubs' Champions League knock-out tie. And after Jose Mourinho and his men depart, United welcome old rivals Chelsea, in the FA Cup. The run is closed with the arrival of Reading, for a league fixture.
"We're hopeful that we can take full advantage of this spell. I must say, the one thing that is going to help us [in this period] is that the pitch has improved a tremendous amount," Ferguson said, "Against Reading it was much, much better. It was not as good as the start of the season obviously but it is getting there. With a further 10 days between the Reading and Norwich games, I expect it to be back to normal."