PSG keen on Bayern Munich defender Boateng
Berlin : Nearly 10 million fans follow his social media accounts. Many have bought a pair of the upmarket glasses he designed, or the very same baseball cap he wore for his last photo shoot. FC Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is well on his way to becoming a global brand; he belongs to the same management stable as US rapper Jay-Z, and a potential move to big-spending Paris St Germain may further enhance his global marketing appeal.
According to several media and television reports, the 29-year-old defender's departure from Bayern is imminent, with rumours that Boateng could join up with PSG and their German coach Thomas Tuchel within the next couple of days, reports Xinhua news agency.
Rumours indicate PSG will have to pay more than 50 million euros ($58.4 million) to sign the 2014 World Cup winner, whose contract with the Bavarians runs until 2021.
Boateng's departure should not come as a huge surprise, with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge speaking four weeks ago about the club's willingness to sell the defender if an appropriate offer is received.
Several newspapers have noted Boateng's apparent willingness to open a new chapter after winning six Bundesliuga titles, with French sports daily L'Equipe reporting PSG's growing interest in the centre back.
In what might be seen as a clearing of the decks, there are rumours that Bayern may also be willing to sell midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Arturo Vidal at the right price, with Barcelona and Inter Milan reportedly sniffing around.
Currently touring the US, Bayern are looking to the future with their recent transfer dealings, having agreed to sign 17-year-old Canadian international striker Alphonso Davies from Vancouver Whitecaps, and FC Dallas' 18-year-old Chris Richards.
As soon as Bayern and PSG agree on the Boateng deal, a 2018 World Champion could be the German's replacement in Bayern's defence. 22-year-old Benjamin Pavard is said to have already signed an agreement with the Munich outfit during the World Cup in Russia.
The French defender has a release clause of 35 million euros ($41 million) at his current club VfB Stuttgart which takes effect in 2019, though Bayern are thought to be prepared to pay more to get their man this summer instead.
Boateng is said to be considering a second go at playing abroad, after an unsuccessful spell with Manchester City in the 2010/11 season. Moving to Bayern in 2011, Boateng developed into one of the world's best defenders, but the relationship between him and the club is said to have become strained over time.
The Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper used the analogy of an old couple that has grown apart, adding that there are rumours of growing tensions between Boateng and his central defensive partner Mats Hummels.