The biggest transfer that never happened- Robert Lewandowski to Blackburn Rovers

After Antonee Robinson's propsed transfer to AC Milan fell through at the last minute, Andrew White looks at another bizarre incident from transfer history, as an Icelandic volcano thwarted Robert Lewandowski's proposed move to Blackburn Rovers.

Andrew White
17th February 2020
Image: Instagram @story of football, Lewandowski celebrates yet another goal.
Robert Lewandowski is now known as arguably the most clinical striker of his generation, while Blackburn Rovers are languishing at 12th in the Championship. However, Lewandowski was once very nearly a Blackburn Rover. The preventative? A volcanic eruption.

Volcanoes don't usually block transfers but in 2010 the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupted and led to the cancellation of most flights from Northern Europe.

Blackburn were struggling to score goals in the 2009/10 season with their forwards Jason Roberts, Franco Di Santo and Nikola Kalinic proving inadequate at leading the line.

Blackburn's top scorer that season was attacking midfielder David Dunn with a mere 9 goals, with Rovers' scoring 41 goals over the entire season.

Lewandowski, however, had scored 21 goals in 34 games that season for Lech Poznan in the Polish Ekstraklasa and was beginning to attract attention from Europe's major leagues.

Martyn Glover, who was head of recruitment at the time, spoke of the failed move

"We'd seen a lot of Robert Lewandowski and knew we were dealing with a top-class striker. We had a deal in mind and went to see him playing for Lech Poznan. We sat down with Robert after the game and had an outline proposal for him to join Rovers. After that, whatever could have gone wrong, went wrong. He was due to fly to the UK but all flights were cancelled due to that volcanic ash cloud"

Martyn Glover

Lewandowski instead, made the move to Borussia Dortmund and hasn't looked back since.

With 103 goals in 183 games, 'Dowski was instrumental in making Dortmund a European powerhouse once again, after struggling since the turn of the century.

Two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal and one Champions League final later, Lewandowski left Dortmund for arched rivals Bayern Munich but despite this, he received a raptouous send-off and left a legend of the Borusse.

Lewandowski has since became a legend in his own right at the Stern des Südens. 226 goals in 271 games including 35 goals in 29 games this term, have made Lewandowski a German footballing great.

The third all-time top Bundelsiga scorer and the top scorer in Germany for a foreign player, Lewandowski has broken record after record since his move to Germany. Something he acknowledges could never have happened, had he visited Blackburn.

"I had the opportunity to join Blackburn, I met with Sam Allardyce,” Lewandowski told The Times. “It was in Poland after a game. I thought he was a good guy, a very good coach."

"I could not fly to Blackburn because of the volcano but I wanted to go there just to see what the club is like because I didn't know back then where I was going because if I travelled there, I would then know which is the best club for me.

"Maybe if I went there and saw the club, the stadium and everything, it would have become my first choice".

An ash cloud is one of the more bizzare reasons for a failed transfer but one that changed Lewandowski's life, it's interesting to think where Lewandowski and Blackburn Rovers would be today had he completed the transfer. But I'm sure of one thing, his undoubted greatness would not be at the level it is today.

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