Manchester United's chances of signing Marco Reus this summer look that much slimmer after Borussia Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke claimed Robert Lewandowski is the only key player they intend to lose this summer.
Speaking to German newspaper Sport BILD (h/t ESPN FC's Stephan Uersfeld) this week, Watzke stated his intent to keep the Black and Yellows as competitive in the Bundesliga as possible, saying: “We absolutely do not see the need to sell players who have an existing contract."
Neil Moxley of The Mirror reported earlier this month that Unted were still looking at Reus with a view to organising a player-plus-cash deal that could see Shinji Kagawa move in the opposite direction.
It was confirmed back in January that Lewandowski would put pen to paper on a five-year deal with Bayern Munich this summer, per ESPN FC, when his contract at Signal Iduna Park expires.
If Reus were to leave as well, it would threaten to set a worrying precedent for one of Germany's titans, who watched Bayern win the Bundesliga title on Tuesday evening with a record seven games to spare.
Meanwhile, Reus was part of the team that drew 0-0 against Schalke, with WhoScored rating the forward as the most impressive player in the derby:
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Schalke HT: Top rated players - Reus (7.2), Fährmann / Ayhan (7.1), Matip (7.0), Hummels (6.9) #BVBS04— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 25, 2014
Dortmund sit in second place, 25 points below Pep Guardiola's side, who remain Germany's strongest power by some distance, retaining one of the deepest squads in world football.
It was just last summer that Mario Goetze's move to the Allianz Arena caused a stir among fans at the Westfalenstadion, and was in itself symbolic of the allure that Bayern possess.
United are entering a summer transfer window where David Moyes must seek out the services of world-class talent, having watched his current squad fail to meet expectations in a hugely disappointing campaign.
The Red Devils' wide areas are one of those in need of some remodelling, with Juan Mata forced onto the wing, rather than his preferred central playmaking role. Adnan Januzaj, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani are also among Moyes' options out wide, but don't quite compare to the standards of Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal's assets.
Of course, Reus is in no way limited to that position, but it's difficult to see him competing for a supporting striker role while Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie reside at Old Trafford.
Reus is currently contracted to Borussia Dortmund until 2017, leaving the club with no immediate concerns regarding his exit unless they should choose to accept any potential offers.
The case is helped by the fact that the attacker grew up as part of the Dortmund academy before moving to Borussia Monchengladbach, returning in 2012.
Though the gulf between Dortmund and Bayern this season is vast, it's worth pointing out that Jurgen Klopp's side have been ravaged by injuries, particularly in defence. Next term, permitting the same misfortune doesn't strike again, it's foreseeable that matters will be a lot tighter at the top.
Reus has himself been through some injury issues, but the Bundesliga's official Twitter account was quick to note just how confidently he returned to fitness this week:
Reus and Watzke will be as aware of this as anybody else, and so the latter's confidence in keeping hold of their contracted stars may be well placed.
Reus has nine goals and nine assists to his name in the league this season, per Transfermarkt, impressing as one of Dortmund's more consistent outlets in attack, and his CEO's comments make it difficult to believe any sort of departure is in the offing.