Bayern Munich will not sell centre-back Holger Badstuber in the summer but he can leave on loan in January, club coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday.
Bundesliga rivals Schalke 04 are thought to be competing with Manchester City and Swansea to sign the international defender in January’s transfer window.
But, speaking from Bayern’s winter training camp in Doha, Ancelotti said any move away from Munich would not be permanent.
“I said if he decided to leave because he wanted to play we can deal with it for six months,” said the Italian.
“We can speak about this with him. There is no chance he will be sold.
“The idea of the club is to renew the contract. If he wants to go to play it will be to go on loan.”
The 27-year-old has played just 28 minutes for the Bundesliga leaders since October, sitting out their last six league games and has made it clear he wants more matches.
Badstuber has fallen out of favour under Ancelotti after suffering numerous injuries in the last four years, including back-to-back knee injuries.
He won the last of his 31 caps for Germany in March 2015, but is Bayern’s fourth-choice centre-back in their star-studded squad behind Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, who is currently injured, and Javi Martinez.
Several clubs have expressed interest in Badstuber, including Manchester City, coached by ex-Bayern boss Pep Guardiola, Hamburg and Swansea, where Ancelotti’s ex-Bayern assistant coach Paul Clement is now in charge.
But it could be northern Germany where he next plays.
German daily Bild reported on Tuesday that Schalke are the favourites to sign Badstuber on loan until June, when his current Bayern contract expires, having already agreed terms with the player.
“He is a very interesting player, because he has international experience and is a Bayern Munich player, but I don’t know if it is realistic,” said Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl at their training camp in Benidorm.
Schalke currently stand 11th in the Bundesliga.
Simply playing is Badstuber’s top priority.
Speaking from Bayern’s training camp, he said: “I want to play, that is the be all and end all.”
Asked directly about Schalke’s interest, Badstuber replied: “There is nothing to report, nothing is fixed.”
Bayern, who have been in Doha for one week, are set to return home to Germany on Wednesday after playing a friendly match against Qatari-owned Belgian league side KAS Eupen on Tuesday evening.