Even though the World Cup is in full swing, the transfer merry-go-round stops for no-one. Bayern Munich may have firmly stamped on any rumours linking Robert Lewandowski with a summer move away from the Allianz Arena, but they have been more open about the prospect of central defender Jérôme Boateng leaving the club.
“I said weeks ago that I am taking bets on Lewandowski staying and I am still taking them today,” Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recently told reporters.
However, when asked about Boateng, the club have admitted they will not stand in the way if a transfer were to be on the table. “We know that this topic might be approaching. When a club is interested and Jerome says that he wants to join this club, we will consider it” Rummenigge explained.
“I don’t hide the fact that we have a financial threshold, but it won’t be low for sure. But I know that Jerome is thinking about leaving.”
A World Cup winner, a first-choice in the national team, and a mainstay of the Bayern back four, so how has it got to this point where a parting of the waves seems inevitable at the conclusion of the World Cup in Russia?
Keen Bayern observers will not be surprised with the relationship between club and player becoming increasingly strained over the past few seasons. The Bayern hierarchy have not hidden their frustration and concerns over Boateng- both for on-field and off-field activities.
As far back as the 2014-15 Bundesliga season Boateng has been linked with a departure from Bavaria. Back the club management is said to have blocked a move to Barcelona and harmony between the two parties has been far from sweet ever since.
Following Bayern’s Champions League defeat to FC Rostov in November 2016, Boateng was singled out for particular criticism after the match with Rummenigge going to town on the centre-back. Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun outplayed Boateng for Rostov’s equaliser, before the defender then conceded a penalty following a clumsy tackle on Christian Noboa.
The Bayern Chairman believed Boateng’s numerous off-field distractions contributed to his below-par performance. “He’s got to calm down,” Rummenigge told Sky Deutschland. “Since last summer it’s all gotten a bit much. It would be in the interests of him and the club if he came back to earth a little.”
In June 2015 Boateng became the first footballer to sign to Roc Nation Sports – the sports arm of the talent agency set up by superstar rapper Jay-Z. The Bayern defender has since launched his own brand of glasses and released a comedy World Cup rap song.
Bayern are seemingly not happy about ‘Brand Boateng’.
On the field, he has had a horrible time with injuries meaning that Bayern have had to do without his services for long periods- while at the same time realising that he is not indispensable. The signing of Niklas Süle last summer can now be seen as a very wise move and a Hummels/ Süle centre-back pairing looks to be the future for Bayern Munich.
The 29-year-old has won everything there is to win at Bayern and having failed to impress during his time at Manchester City is keen to prove himself in one of Europe’s top leagues with La Liga and the Premier League his obvious possible destinations. Manchester United would be one potential suitor, while it is also conceivable that Barcelona would look to reignite their interest from 2015.
The World Cup puts Boateng very much in the shop window and it looks like the German international will be plying his trade elsewhere next summer and taking his brand to a new market.
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