Stuttgart determined not to sell France hero Benjamin Pavard this summer - sporting director
Stuttgart are prepared to knock back any approaches this summer for defender Benjamin Pavard amid reports Bayern Munich will trigger the France international's €35 million release clause in 2019.
Currently impressing in defence for his country at the World Cup, Pavard, 22, is contracted until 2021 at the Bundesliga club. He scored a brilliant equaliser for France in their 4-3 round-of-16 victory over Argentina on Saturday.
"We make no secret of the fact that Benjamin has a release clause for 2019. We will gladly forgo a lot of money if he plays for us for a further season," Stuttgart's sporting director, Michael Reschke, told Sport Bild.
Reschke, a former Bayern technical director between 2014 and 2017, admitted that the defender's performances at the World Cup had captured the attention of watching clubs. However, Stuttgart, who finished seventh in the Bundesliga last season, are keen to keep hold of their prized asset for the coming season.
"The interest in Pavard has increased a notch since Saturday with enquiries from top clubs in Europe. But we will not sell Benji for €50m this summer -- we want to keep him," he said.
Reschke will seek talks with Pavard and his agent after the World Cup to discuss his future plans, but he seems to have admitted defeat in keeping Pavard beyond next summer.
"We are prepared to find a solution for 1. July 2019 with a club that works together with us correctly and transparently. I think it's very probable that he will move to one of the top eight clubs in Europe for season 2019-20," he said.
A move next summer would hand Stuttgart a nice profit after buying Pavard from Lille for just €5m in 2016.
Meanwhile, Pavard has told L'Equipe: "I have always said that I want to play in the Champions League one day. But I appreciate what Stuttgart has given me."
According to the report, Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and Leipzig are also eyeing a move for Pavard.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.