Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has suggested defender Jerome Boateng remains key to his plans at the Allianz Arena and will not allow the Germany international to leave without a suitable replacement being sounded out first.
Speaking to German outlet Suddeutsche Zeitung via Bild, the Croatian manager confirmed he considers the 29-year-old centre back important to the club's chances of success this season, despite a turbulent summer which saw Boateng endure a miserable World Cup with Germany and be linked with a number of other clubs including PSG and Manchester United.
"With him [Boateng], Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle, I have three world class defenders, and I need them too," said Kovac, who recently took charge of the German champions having previously managed Eintracht Frankfurt.
However, Kovac did not entirely rule out the possibility of Boateng leaving the club, saying that if the defender was sold he would "assume that we think about replacement."
Boateng has made 259 appearances for Bayern since joining from Manchester City in 2011, becoming an indispensable member of the side that has monopolised German football for the last five years, and was included in the club's starting XI for their DFB-Pokal game against SV Drochtersen/Assel on Saturday.
Kovac also spoke about his own managerial philosophy and insisted he would not be swayed by the influence of his superiors at Bayern such as Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
"I'm sure Hoeneß and Rummenigge want a confident coach and not a yes-man," Kovac said.
"Let's put it this way: I think that's why I was brought in by Bayern because I'm the way I am. I want to be here the way I was in Frankfurt."
Bayern take on Hoffenheim in their first Bundesliga match of the season on 24 August.