Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp insists that midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will not be distracted by reports linking him with a move to Manchester United.
The Red Devils are reportedly eyeing a swoop for Gundogan in the summer, and a contract is said to be close to being agreed. Borussia Dortmund take on Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the DFB-Pokal Cup and Klopp insists that the 24-year-old is focused on the task in hand.
"It's normal that players get linked with other clubs, especially here," the 47-year-old coach told reporters on Monday. "It doesn't disrupt our focus on the game.
Article continues below
"This is a super-important match. This is a hurdle we have to overcome in order to get to the final.
"Bayern are an exceptional opponent but we are looking forward to this game. We were already happy after the quarter-final against Hoffenheim but now we have this duel with one of the most difficult opponents in football. It is practically a final."
Article continues below
Gundogan is out of contract with Dortmund in 2016 and could be moved on in the summer if he fails to commit his future to the club. That could play into the hands of Manchester United, who are reportedly in the market for a new midfielder.
Paul Pogba is believed to be manager Louis van Gaal's top target but his price may be prohibitive, while Kevin Strootman of Roma is out with a serious knee injury once more - and that could lead to a swoop for Gundogan.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has admitted that the German international faces an uncertain future because of his contract expiration date. Manchester United have also been linked with Mats Hummels for some time now, and Zorc says both players' futures will be assessed at the end of the season.
"Gundogan's situation isn't straightforward, because his contract expires in 2016. There will be a decision soon," he told Kicker.
"As far as I know, Hummels' contract still runs until 2017. We did not receive any offer that we should think about. There will surely be some changes to the team this summer. Maybe more changes than in recent years. But we won't radically change our team."
Klopp himself has already announced his decision to quit Borussia Dortmund at the end of the current campaign after more than four years in the hot seat. He's been linked with a move to Manchester City and Liverpool.
Manchester United may need a midfielder, but if that man is Gundogan then it's a huge risk. He's played just over 40 league games in the past four seasons because of a string of serious injuries.
Of course he's likely to be available at a cut-down price which could make the move look tempting, especially if he gets back to his 2012 best then they could have one hell of a player on their hands.
Should Manchester United take a gamble on Gundogan?
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms