With club football on hold and the game’s biggest stars having spent the past two weeks off representing their countries, as is often been the case there has been a sharp rise in rumour mongering. It’s the result of no club news to talk about and players letting their guard down.
Back in their home countries, speaking to journalists in their native tongue, always leads to the kind of candid remarks most players wouldn’t dream of making with their clubs. And these in turn fuel a major uptick in transfer rumours. Rumours like the ones surrounding Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
"I don’t know what the coach thinks, you’d have to ask him," said ter Stegen today when the German goalkeeper was asked about the rumours linking him with a move to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City over the international break. "All I can say is that I want to give my very best.
"I hope we reach the next round in the Champions League and win our next game in the league. These are my goals with the team. Obviously I also have personal goals. The coach decides the way he decides, I guess he has his reasons to do so, but we will see how this goes on in the future."
While it’s not exactly a statement of intent, it isn’t the kind of denial and committing his future to Barcelona that fans of that club will have wanted to hear. It’s the kind of statement that were it made by a Liverpool player would have Reds fans preparing for the player’s imminent exit.
It’s hardly surprising, though. Ter Stegen has made no secret in recent months that he isn’t happy just to be the cup goalkeeper for Barcelona—even if being the cup ‘keeper includes deep runs in the Champions League. Similarly, positional rival Claudio Bravo has said he isn’t happy just getting league games.
The result has been a situation that cannot last beyond the current season, and despite the age difference—ter Stegen is 23 while Chilean international Bravo is 32—it has been the German positioning himself for the exit, with Liverpool by many accounts the frontrunners to capture his services.