Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has put an end to rumours linking him to Manchester United, and all but singled out Bayern Munich as his preferred destination next season.
"My goal is to transfer to a club inside Germany," the 25-year old told Sky Germany following his team's 4-1 defeat to Bayern at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening.
With Bayern being the only club with both interest in a goalkeeper and the financial means to sign Neuer, the player has essentially revealed that he wishes to move to Munich, where his girlfriend currently resides. The quotes came after he was given a rather cold reception by some of the Bayern fans, who held signs protesting his potential move.
Speaking on German television station ZDF this evening, Schalke's sporting director Horst Heldt reiterated that there has been no interest from any English side, including Manchester United:
"I have read the news in the papers, not only in the English papers but also in the German press. What I can say is: Manchester United have not yet contacted Schalke about Manuel Neuer."
Bayern Munich's chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on ZDF that the two clubs held official talks about a transfer for the first time this past week, with discussions on the transfer fee and "how far both parties are away from each other."
Rummenigge was optimistic despite the lack of progress so far, stressing with a smile on his face, that since the ingredients are there for Neuer to move to Bayern, the two clubs will find a way as there is a lot of time in which to complete any move.
A teary-eyed Neuer recently announced that he will not extend his current contract, which is set to expire in 2012. However, Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick has pledged to keep his most prized asset in Gelsenkirchen for as long as possible, setting up a potential transfer showdown between Neuer, Schalke, and Bayern.