By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- The possible departure of central defender Jerome Boateng is causing a controversial debate at Bayern Munich. While the club's management favor 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.
The 2017-18 German champions are rumored to be demanding a 50 million euro 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.
During a three-month injury break in 2016, Boateng was accused by Bayern officials of neglecting his recovery to participate in too many celebrity events and follow individual marketing endeavors. The player said the accusations were a great disappointment but he admitted to intensifying his rehabilitation.
The club bosses and sports director Hasan Salihamidzic are currently refusing to comment on Boateng's future. "We will announce any news whenever there is some to announce, but for now there is nothing new," Salihamidzic stressed.