Bayern Munich manager Hans-Dieter Flick has shut down rumours suggesting defender Jerome Boateng will leave the club in January, with Arsenal said to be interested in a transfer.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is somewhat desperate for centre-back reinforcements following recent injuries to the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Calum Chambers and Rob Holding.
Flick told reporters he “will not concern” himself with rumours, saying Boateng returned from the winter break “well-prepared.” The boss was calm over his player’s future in Bavaria, adding:
"But I will not concern myself with thoughts if he will leave the club or not. He didn't say anything regarding that and we are constantly in an exchange. We have to see how these things develop, but right now I cannot picture it (Boateng leaving).”
Manchester United were previously linked with Boateng before they splashed a club-record £80 million to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City last summer.
The German’s murky injury record is an area of concern for Arsenal, however, as Boateng has averaged around 28 appearances in all competitions over the past four campaigns. That’s compared with an average of around 44 appearances in each of his first four seasons at Bayern.
He’s made 15 total appearances this season but has played the full 90 minutes in only eight of those.
Boateng, 31, was one of three senior Germany players informed in March that they would no longer be selected by national team manager Joachim Low. Current and former Bayern teammates Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels—now at Borussia Dortmund for the second time—were also axed.
The former Manchester City player joined Bayern in 2011 and made his 301st appearance for the club when they beat Wolfsburg 2-0 in their final game before the Christmas interval.
Flick told Kicker (via Goal) in December that it would be Boateng’s decision as to how long he remains at the Allianz Arena, though he’s no longer guaranteed a senior role in the squad.
Bayern spent a club-record $90 million to sign centre-back Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid earlier in 2019, while 23-year-old Benjamin Pavard also provides capable competition to German youngster Niklas Sule.