The possible departure of central defender Jerome Boateng is causing a controversial debate at Bayern Munich. While the club’s management favour selling the 29-year-old German international this summer, coach Niko Kovac and several stars are demanding that Boateng stays.
The reigning French league champions Paris St Germain and their German coach Thomas Tuchel are said to be interested in signing Boateng. Negotiations between the player’s management and PSG are taking place behind the scenes, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 2017-18 German champions are rumoured to be demanding a 50 million euro ($57 million) transfer fee. The French media says Paris will have to sell a player before a deal can be made in order to comply with financial fair-play regulations.
Pundits say Boateng is very interested in joining PSG and has rejected an offer made by Manchester United. The German tabloid Bild reported that Boateng phoned Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho to tell him he won’t be heading to Old Trafford.
For now, the delay is not only annoying PSG coach Tuchel but is causing a significant internal dispute in the Bavarian club, so much so that it could affect the team’s progress this season. Bayern are facing last season’s cup winners Eintracht Frankfurt this Sunday in the “Supercup”.
On August 24, they will take on league runners-up TSG Hoffenheim in their 2018-19 Bundesliga curtain-raiser. Former Dutch international Arjen Robben has warned the club’s leaders not to underestimate Boateng’s value to the team. “To win more titles than last season, we need to keep the team together,” said the winger. Otherwise, Robben is concerned about the team’s success. “We must avoid being our own enemy,” 34-year-old Robben said before adding that Boateng is one of the world’s best defenders, “and we need his quality”.
Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer said he would miss Boateng and French winger Franck Ribery underlined the sentiment: “I hope he stays with us. He is one of the world’s best, and we need his physical presence on the pitch.”
After moving to the Bavarians in 2011, Boateng has developed into one of the world’s best defenders, but the relationship between him and Bayern is said to have broken down.