His rise from 2. Bundesliga stopper to much sought-after World Cup winner took less than two years and suggests Benjamin Pavard is a footballer in something of a hurry.
A string of excellent displays in Stuttgart's unlikely seventh-placed finish in the top flight last season established the 22-year-old as one of the best defensive prospects in the league. Then his performances at right-back for France in Russia, including the goal of the tournament in their last 16 win over Argentina, further enhanced his reputation and, presumably, price tag.
Bayern Munich have long been linked with the Lille academy graduate, as they are with most of the Bundesliga's best talent, and there are suggestions that a deal has already been tied up that will allow Pavard to move to Bavaria at the end of this season. But in an interview with Sky Germany, Pavard rejected that.
"I haven't made promises to any clubs," he said on Thursday. "Maybe I will go [to Bayern] but I don't know what the future has in store for me. I've never hidden the fact that my ambition is to play in the Champions League."
Despite reports linking the vesratile defender with Premier League outfits Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Serie A side Napoli, Pavard's love for all things German could see him remain in the Bundesliga.
"I might just stay in Germany, but for the moment I want to focus on Stuttgart. I'm still here, we're in a difficult situation and I want to help us get out of it," he added.
"I like the people here and I fit in well...the mentality and the commitment, even at training, we never let up. That's how I like it. My mentality is German, I like this country a lot."
Stuttgart currently occupy the Bundesliga's relegation playoff spot, having won just three of their 13 games. They face second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday.
mp (AFP, SID)