Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has said Arturo Vidal can be certain of his place while he is in charge.
Vidal, 30, is under contract at Bayern until 2019, but Leon Goretzka will join from Schalke this summer and speculation has linked the Chile international with a move.
However, Heynckes told kicker: “Arturo is a guaranteed starter for me. He doesn’t need to worry about his place. He is a class player who we need in the big games.”
Vidal has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea, having played under coach Antonio Conte at Juventus between 2011 and 2014.
But he has been revitalised at Bayern since Heynckes returned to the club to replace Carlo Ancelotti and scored in four successive Bundesliga games before the winter break.
Meanwhile, after Bayern president Uli Hoeness again said he would try to convince Heynckes to stay beyond the end of the season, the coach said: “It’s unnecessary to make an issue out of it.”
Kicker reported that there have been no talks between the two about the possibility of Heynckes extending his fourth term in charge.
In addition to the coach, four players see their deals up for renewal this summer — veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, back-up goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and defender Rafinha.
Rafinha, 32, was reported to be the subject of interest from Chelsea in August but Heynckes said he wanted him to stay, adding: “I would be in favour of extending Raffa’s contract.
“He’s a good professional and has always performed well. He’s an important player to our whole team structure and lends a positive influence.”
Hoeness said he expected a decision on Robben’s future in “April or May,” and the player told kicker: “Let’s wait and see. I’m simply concentrating on my football.”
The magazine said Ribery, Bayern’s longest-serving player, would like to stay in Munich for another year.
Ulreich is reported to have offers from English clubs but would prefer to stay in Munich if he is given guarantees about getting games in cup competitions when first-choice Manuel Neuer returns to action after injury.
Heynckes indicated he could make changes for Saturday’s Bundesliga game at Mainz, telling kicker “there could be a mini-rotation” with Mats Hummels likely to return to the starting line-up after injury and illness.
“I have to give Mats a game to get him involved again,” he said.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.