Benjamin Pavard was one of France’s standout performers at the World Cup, and the Stuttgart defender’s stock rose significantly as a result of his strong performances on the world’s biggest stage. He’s merited interest from several of Europe’s top clubs, with Bayern Munich topping the list of most probable destinations if and when he does leave Stuttgart.
According to SWR Sport in Germany, Pavard has already agreed to join Bayern before this summer’s transfer window closes. If that is, in fact, the case, Stuttgart would certainly have the luxury of adding a few million Euros on to the transfer fee to advance the move. Initially, it had been suggested that Bayern were going to wait until the summer of 2019 to bring Pavard in, when his current contract with Stuttgart has a €35-million release clause that can be triggered.
Per the SWR Sport report, a contract for 2019 has already been agreed upon by Pavard, Stuttgart, and Bayern, but Bayern have attempted to negotiate a deal to bring him in this summer. There are quite a few moving parts in this (potential) deal too, as Pavard wants to be guaranteed solid minutes, which he has had at Stuttgart and more recently, the World Cup-winning French national team. If Jerome Boateng inevitably leaves Bayern as has been heavily speculated, this could open the door for Pavard and Bayern might be willing to pay an increased fee to Stuttgart to get Pavard this summer. Juan Bernat has also been linked with a move away from Bayern this summer which could ultimately lead to more minutes for Pavard even though Bernat isn’t a routine starter.
During his press conference earlier today (Thursday, July 19th), new manager Niko Kovac remained characteristically cool when he was asked about the Pavard rumors. Take what you want from Kovac’s response, but he was smooth and didn’t give anything away other than the fact that he recognized Pavard had a fantastic World Cup (via ESPN’s Mark Lovell):
New Bayern coach Niko Kovac not giving anything away about Benjamin Pavard.— Mark Lovell (@LovellLowdown) July 19, 2018
"I can`t say anything about Pavard. You’ll have to contact @Brazzo . But I can confirm he is a really good player, he proved that at the World cup."
Kovac may have cleverly skirted around the question during the press conference, but does this look like the face of a man who doesn’t have something up his sleeve (below)?