Thomas Muller has been heavily linked with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal in the past, but former Bayern Munich boss Ottmar Hitzfeld cannot see a “world-class” talent leaving the German giants.
Transfer talk around the 30-year-old World Cup winner has surfaced again amid struggles for regular game time at the Bundesliga champions.
Muller has started just three league games in 2019-20, while only seven minutes have been seen off the bench in the Champions League.
It has been suggested that a change of scenery could be considered by a highly-regarded forward who has been a one-club man in his senior career to this point.
Hitzfeld hopes an exit can be prevented, but concedes that only Muller can decide what he wants to do in the future.
The legendary Bayern coach told Goal and Spox: “Thomas Muller at another club is hard to imagine for me.
“He is an absolute identification figure for Bayern. He has played there since he was small and has matured into a world-class player, has won many titles.
“But in the end it is his decision if he wants to do something else. You have to respect that.”
One former academy graduate who took the decision to walk away after an iconic spell in Munich was Bastian Schweinsteiger.
He left his homeland for Manchester United in 2015 after taking in 500 appearances for Bayern.
The 35-year-old midfielder has now decided to hang up his boots, with Schweinsteiger retiring on the books of MLS side the Chicago Fire.
Hitzfeld handed a combative performer his debut as an 18-year-old and has said of a man who went on to conquer the world: “That was the time when I thought I could throw the boy in.
“We had already seen in the training games what a high level and what a great talent he had. Nevertheless, it is a long way from there. As a coach, I experienced many talents who then fell by the wayside.”
Hitzfeld added: “Bastian was one of the best German footballers of all time.
“He has shaped German football with his unbelievable intelligence for more than a decade as a symbolic figure.
“For me as a coach, it was not difficult to shape him, because his great talent was already there.
“Bastian was born as a footballer, you do not have to do much, just lead. That’s why I’m glad he enjoyed the career he has.
“It was a privilege to work with him, because such a player is a gift for every coach.”