Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has dismissed rumours of a move for Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard, insisting the club does not need to sign any more centre-backs.
The Frenchman has established himself as one of the world's most exciting young defenders, rising to prominence as he helped France to World Cup glory during the summer. He has since been the subject of countless transfer rumours, including several links to Bayern, but shocked many when he remained at Stuttgart as the transfer window closed.
During a press conference ahead of Bayern's Champions League clash with Ajax on Wednesday, Kovac insisted the club were not pursuing a move for the 22-year-old. He is quoted by Goal as saying: "He is a very, very good player. He has his qualities.
"However, we currently have three central defenders, we do not need a fourth, fifth or sixth. I do not think there will be any change in winter."
The likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Arsenal have also been linked with a move for Pavard. Rumours in Germany have suggested Pavard has a release clause of around £32m in his contract, prompting interest from several of Europe's biggest clubs.
The 22-year-old, who is comfortable as both a centre-back and a right-back, has made 14 appearances for Stuttgart this season, but is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury. He is widely regarded as one of the Bundesliga's most promising talents, with many fans believing that an expensive transfer to one of Europe's elite is imminent.
However, Pavard remained loyal to Stuttgart, admitting to French outlet Telefoot that he rejected several offers in order to reward the club. He said: “I haven’t forgotten that they came looking for me in Lille at a time when few people believed in me.
“I signed for them when they were in the second division. They showed faith in me, and it’s also down to them that I am where I am.
“I have a love for the jersey. I’m not going to hide that I had a huge number of offers but in my head it was clear. I had to stay at least one more season at Stuttgart because I love the jersey. I like the club and their supporters, so I owe them that much.”