Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Wirtz will stay at Leverkusen amid transfer interest, Rolfes insists

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 May 2024

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Florian Wirtz will stay at Bayer Leverkusen next season despite interest from Europe’s elite clubs, says Die Werkself’s managing director Simon Rolfes.

Wirtz has been in irresistible form throughout Xabi Alonso’s first full season at the BayArena, which could yet end with an unbeaten treble.

Leverkusen won 28 of their 34 games as they became the first team to go unbeaten through a Bundesliga campaign, and they face a pair of finals this week – against Atalanta in the Europa League and Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal.

Wirtz was named Bundesliga Player of the Year earlier this week, having scored 11 goals and provided 11 assists throughout the campaign. He has also been involved in eight goals (four goals, four assists) and created 28 chances from open play in the Europa League this term.

That form has reportedly put the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Manchester United on alert, but Leverkusen are not entertaining a sale.

“He will stay. His father and agent said it before. He has a contract here and he’s really happy,” Rolfes told Sky Sports.

“This is the right place for him to develop as a player and person. His future is bright, that’s for sure. He is such a good player and shows a great will to win and to work.

“It’s not normally the attribute of a number 10 but he combines talent with the work rate of a six or a defensive player along with producing special magic moments.”

When Bayern Munich last failed to win the Bundesliga title in 2012, they responded by raiding rivals Borussia Dortmund for the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels over the next few years.

Asked if Leverkusen had any concerns about that happening to them, Rolfes said: “For sure 10, 15 or 20 years ago that was a normal thing but things are changing. The European environment has changed a lot.

“It’s an international market now with the Premier League, and clubs in Spain, Italy and France as well.”

Bayern were, alongside Liverpool, unsuccessful in attempting to lure Alonso away from Westphalia, and Rolfes says he was always convinced the Spaniard would stay.

“Maybe that was a little more special but I’m always convinced you have to concentrate on your strengths,” he said.

“I was convinced we could offer a lot to him and our players with other interest in them. That’s why I was always calm.”

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