“At the moment there is no direct contact between the clubs, but there is contact with the agents — Jerome has two, after all.” Thus spoke Karl-Heinz Rummenigge last week, candidly acknowledging that Paris Saint-Germain was actively negotiating with Jerome Boateng. Perhaps you were puzzled at the time, as I was, by Rummenigge’s aside: that Boateng has two agents.
The remark, it turns out, was barbed: Boateng is represented in the normal sense of the word by Christian Nerlinger (of CN Sports). The other agent? Sean Carter: the American rap mogul Sean Jay-Z.
In 2015, Boateng became the first professional soccer player to sign with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, the sports agency branch of the rapper’s massive Roc Nation entertainment company, most prominently known for its music endeavors. Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku is also represented by Roc Nation.
That relationship, according to TZ, has become a nuisance to Bayern Munich’s leadership, especially chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The bosses are supposedly annoyed that Boateng is involved by too many distractions off the pitch.
Boateng’s relationship with Rummenigge in particular has suffered since he signed with Roc Nation. Boateng was named kicker’s 2016 Footballer of the Year, but his poor performance in an embarrassing Champions League defeat by Rostov (in which he also injured himself) made Rummenigge’s annoyance boil over in the widely reported remarks that Boateng needed to come “back to earth” and focus on soccer. Boateng responded that he “could only laugh about it,” adding, “next time he can say it to my face.”
It was more like back earth or not at all: TZ claims to have learned that Bayern was prepared to sell Boateng already in 2016/17, had they received a lucrative offer. After none were made, the show went on, and things seemingly simmered down — at least until Boateng was undoubtedly one of the five major players who was benched by and subsequently rebelled against Carlo Ancelotti.
Boateng’s fraught relationship with Rummenigge reemerged just as the center-back had joined the German national team to prepare for the World Cup. Much has been said about Germany’s various “distractions,” but Rummenigge himself provided one by declaring abruptly before the tournament commenced that Bayern would allow Boateng to leave the club for a good offer.
That news stunned Boateng, who responded, “I don’t know why these statements were made.” emphasizing that he was focused on the World Cup. In hindsight, and in the anticipation of a strong showing by Germany at the time, Rummenigge’s statement was potentially an effort to prime the transfer market in advance. The rest of Germany’s campaign is still being digested.
Now Bayern seems serious about selling the defender, at least for the right price. Manchester United, who will be in Munich on Sunday, August 5, have just three days to make up their mind whether to sign Boateng. Bayern reportedly are seeking €50 million. PSG have until the end of the month, before the transfer window closes.
If a transfer falls through, however, Bayern have said previously that they will be more than happy to have Boateng stay. His contract runs until 2021. But at 29 years old and with Niklas Süle waiting in the wings, Boateng’s days in the limelight at the Allianz may be numbered — Jay-Z or no Jay-Z.