Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Lewandowski 'the one that got away'

Sam Allardyce has revealed that Robert Lewandowski, pictured, was offered to Blackburn while he was at the club

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce rues the day he was denied the chance to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski underlined his status as one of the hottest properties in world football on Wednesday night when he scored all four goals in Dortmund's Champions League semi-final thrashing of Real Madrid.

Had it not been for an Icelandic ash cloud, or the financial constraints of the board at Ewood Park - Allardyce cannot remember which - the Pole could have been fighting relegation to League One with Blackburn instead.

Rovers were one of a number of clubs, including Tottenham and West Brom, who were offered Lewandowski by his then parent club Lech Poznan for just three million euros (£2.5m) in 2010.

"It's true," the West Ham boss said. "He was put forward to sign very strongly by our recruitment staff and unfortunately it was one that got knocked back.

"My distant memory isn't that great but I think (former Rovers chairman) John (Williams) and the board said we are not going to commit that amount of money.

"I think they wanted three or four million euros but we were particularly strapped financially at the time at Blackburn. I watched him play. But I didn't get the chance to meet him."

It goes without saying that if Blackburn did have the man who ran rings around the Real defence in their team, they would not be at the wrong end of the npower Championship now.

And for Allardyce, who spent just under three years in charge of Blackburn, knowing that he missed out on coaching the talented 24-year-old is particularly galling.

"I think about it every time I see him play.," the 58-year-old said. "He would have had a period of getting used to the level and the physical presence, but with a talent like that it wouldn't have been too long before he started to shine and score goals."

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