Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that playmaker Toni Kroos was dropped to the bench for the club's last two games due to 'tactical reasons'.
24-year-old Kroos, who moved to the Allianz Arena in 2006, has made 18 Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarian outfit this season, but was left as an unused substitute for recent matches against Frankfurt and Nurnberg.
Such a decision appeared as if it could have ulterior motives given that Kroos had been involved in a contract standoff with Bayern amid interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea and also reacted furiously to being taken off against Stuttgart last month.
Guardiola, however, appears to have moved to reassure fans that his decision to drop Kroos - who is rated at around £25 million - was motivated only by tactics.
"Kroos was benched for tactical reasons," the Spaniard said in a press conference that was quoted by Goal.com.
"It is not the first time that a player is unhappy with one of my decisions. A player is always unhappy when he doesn't play. It's up to me to keep the situation under control.
"Toni Kroos has already done a lot for Bayern, not just for me, but for the entire team."
Despite Guardiola appearing to insist that there is no problem between he and Kroos, such a situation will surely do little to cool the transfer speculation that has recently surrounded the player.
Manchester United, who have endured a torrid 2013/14 campaign to date as David Moyes has struggled badly to fill the sizable void left by the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson during the summer, could certainly do with bringing players of Kroos' quality to Old Trafford this summer.
Chelsea, meanwhile, brought both Mohamed Salah and Nemanja Matic to Stamford Bridge during the recent transfer window and, while they lost Spanish star Juan Mata to Manchester United, Jose Mourinho certainly does not appear to be in such dire need for quality reinforcements.