Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller has been speaking about his special relationship with Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, fuelling speculation of a possible transfer to Old Trafford during the summer.
The World Cup winning Germany international recently signed a new contract at the Allianz Arena, but rumours of a rift between himself and head coach Pep Guardiola has prompted reports the 25-year-old could leave the Bundesliga champions when the transfer window reopens.
Van Gaal is a huge admirer of Muller, and handed him his competitive debut whilst in charge of the Bavarian giants. And, judging by the player's latest comments the pair have always stayed in touch and still have a close bond from their earlier days working together.
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“It’s a secret for nobody,” Muller was quoted saying by The Metro. “Louis van Gaal and I have a relationship that goes beyond that which is normal between a player and a coach.
“However, I have a contract with Bayern until 2017.”
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Despite Muller's intimation that he'll see out the remaining two-and-a-bit years of his existing deal, there's got to be a small chance that the player could quit Bayern at the end of the season, particularly if Guardiola is unhappy with the marksman.
The animosity between the pair spilled over when Muller was substituted during the recent 3-0 defeat against Barcelona in last week's Champions League semi-final first leg, with the German reacting furiously to his early withdrawal at Camp Nou.
Of course, tempers often flare in the heat of the moment and so perhaps supporters shouldn't read too much into that kind of behaviour, but the Bavarians will surely be worried by Muller's decision to so openly praise his old mentor Van Gaal, especially after reports linking the Red Devils boss with a move for his services in the summer.
Still, Muller was back in action as Bayern lost 1-0 against Augsburg on Saturday - which represented their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions since wrapping up the domestic title last month.
Guardiola's side were reduced to ten men with less than 15 minutes on the clock as stand-in goalkeeper Pepe Reina was shown a red card after conceding a penalty.
Paul Verhaegh failed to convert the spot-kick after seeing his effort come back off the post, but Raul Bobadilla secured all three points for the visitors after converting a clever backheel goal.
Attention now turns to Tuesday night's return leg in Germany, although Muller and his team-mates will be well aware of the size of the task they face in overturning a three-goal deficit against the Catalan giants.
Manchester United fans: Would you like to see Louis van Gaal move for Thomas Muller this summer? Have your say below...