Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told Manchester United that rumoured target Toni Kroos is not leaving Bayern Munich, saying, "I can promise you that Toni will play for Bayern next season."
The Bayern chief executive's stern quote was reported by John Edwards of the Daily Mail, who claims "Kroos has told his team-mates he wants to join" the Red Devils. This story was originally broken by John Cross of the Mirror, who revealed the German midfielder "is ready" to link up with David Moyes' team.
Despite this revelation, Jan Aage Fjortoft—a Bundesliga pundit who continues to follow the story—doubted Kroos would announce such intentions; fair analysis considering the original report doesn't include a quote from the player:
So Kroos tells his team-mates that he wants to join Manchester United, and theese team-mates tell an English paper?— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) April 7, 2014
Kroos has also worked hard to state his commitment to Bayern across the last week. Speaking after the club's Champions League quarter-final first leg draw with United, the 24-year-old resoundingly announced, "I belong to Bayern Munich," per TZ and via ESPN.
Speculation may have galvanised after Kroos appeared to argue with Pep Guardiola upon his substitution in the aforementioned game, but the player also put himself out to dispel the rumoured spat, per Stefan Coerts of Goal.com:
"The coach told me I did well. Everything was just fine. Nobody likes to be substituted," said Kroos.
Prior to Bayern's opening showdown with United, Guardiola confirmed Kroos will stay at the Allianz Arena next season, reported by the Manchester Evening News:
"Toni has one year more of a contract and Toni will remain there," said the Spanish boss.
As such, two sides are forming to this story. Bayern continue to provide strong quotes combating the idea of Kroos' possible departure, while the English press insist he is moving. United undoubtedly need a ball-playing midfielder of Kroos' stature—someone with a natural physicality who is also mobile—but it seems Moyes will need to work extremely hard to secure Kroos' future.
Will Toni Kroos join Manchester United?
Unless, of course, the player announces he wishes to leave. Kroos has won it all at Bayern and may be tempted by a change of scenery. Moyes' rebuilding project, although a famous failure this season, is expected to gain significant momentum during the summer.
Currently residing in a squad of superstars at Bayern, it's easy to see why Kroos may fancy a transfer. Not only could he be offered up to £250,000 a week, per James Boylan of the Metro, he may develop into the centrepiece of a team that is expected to challenge for silverware across the coming seasons.
It will be interesting to gauge the player's reaction after Bayern's second leg tie with United on Wednesday. All eyes will be on Kroos, who knows his every smile, smirk or grimace has the power to fuel headlines.