Former Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber says Gonzalo Higuain is not good enough to replace Robert Lewandowski, and has urged the Poland international to reject Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Madrid, in particular, are reported to have a strong interest in Lewandowski, with newspapers in Spain claiming they could equal the world-record EUR101million fee they paid for Gareth Bale in order to sign the forward.
The 27-year-old said this week that he could not guarantee his future will be with the Bundesliga champions despite insisting he remains happy with life at the Allianz Arena.
But Elber, who won four league titles and the Champions League with Bayern, has warned Lewandowski that he could be forced to settle for a bit-part role if he chose to leave for the Santiago Bernabeu or Camp Nou.
"Lewandowski should not think about signing for another club," he told Goal. "He can win the Champions League with Bayern, the league and the cup at least. If you sign for Real or Barca it can be you don't play. I hope Lewy stays in Munich."
Talk of a move for Higuain intensified when Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted they were monitoring the Argentina international, who has scored 23 goals in as many games to fire Napoli to the top of Serie A.
Yet Elber does not believe the former Madrid man is good enough to replace Lewandowski and has criticised Rummenigge for his comments.
"Lewandowski is better than Higuain. You can't compare them. Higuain is not at Lewy's level," he said.
"That was unnecessary of Kalle [Rummenigge]. Nobody needs such a discussion. In this situation you're better concentrating on the sporting things."
Lewandowski is currently one goal behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Bundesliga scoring charts, with the CAF Footballer of the Year having netted 20 times in 19 games for Thomas Tuchel's side this season.
Elber believes Aubameyang would make a worthy addition to Pep Guardiola's squad but insists they do not need to sign another forward given the options at their disposal.
"Every good player is an interesting player for Bayern," said the 43-year-old when asked whether Aubameyang could be a success in Munich. "Even though Bayern signed players from Dortmund like [Mario] Gotze and Lewandowski, the parameters are different. It would be difficult, but maybe it could work.
"It's easier to score goals for Bayern than for Dortmund or any other club. That makes Aubameyang's goals all-the-more estimable. He performs very well. It's fun to watch him.
"[But] Bayern don't need a striker. They are positioned well with Lewandowski and [Thomas] Muller. If one of them is out, Pep would change the system."