Robert Lewandowski has admitted he met Sam Allardyce as part of transfer talks to join Blackburn Rovers from Lech Poznan in 2010 before the move collapsed.
The Poland striker famously came close to heading to Ewood Park during the January 2010 transfer window, only for the deal to break down due to volcanic eruptions in Iceland grounding most of Europe's air travel.
Instead, Lewandowski completed the 2009/10 season at Lech Poznan, where he finished the campaign with 21 goals in 34 games across all competitions, alerting some of Europe's more notable sides to his talent.
Lewandowski earned himself a move to Jurgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund in June 2010, where he would go on to win two Bundesliga titles, one DFL Pokal and one DFL Supercup before joining Bayern Munich on a free transfer four years later, taking his career to new heights and establishing himself as one of the best strikers in football history. He signed for Barcelona in 2022, where he has already helped La Blaugrana to their first La Liga title in four years.
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His failed move to Blackburn is seen as a sliding-doors moment in Lewandowski's career. While away on Poland international duty for this month's Euro 2024 qualifiers, he revealed how close he really came to joining Allardyce and co.
"I had the opportunity to join Blackburn Rovers, but I wanted to see what Blackburn was like, the training ground. I met Sam Allardyce first. He was in Poland after a match. I thought he was a good guy, a very good coach. And Allardyce was willing to sign a young player, he thought I was something new and could be something special. He wanted to come to Poland to see me," Lewandowski recalled.
"There were many offers to think about when I left Poznan. I think it would have been nice if I had gone to Blackburn. I couldn't go because of the cloud. It was the volcano.
"A week passed and no one could fly in Europe. The flight was booked, but we couldn't leave. That fact changed my life. If I had gone to Blackburn, maybe I would have stayed there."