Germany international Matthias Ginter rejected a ‘big-money’ offer from Aston Villa to join Freiburg this summer, according to a report.
In late December, Borussia Monchengladbach revealed important players Ginter and Denis Zakaria were due to leave. This came after the pair opted not to sign new contracts at Borussia-Park.
It was a big blow for the Bundesliga outfit, considering Ginter and Zakaria were two of their most valuable assets.
Central midfielder Zakaria went on to join Juventus in the January transfer window. They only had to pay a small fee for the Switzerland international due to his contract situation.
Ginter, meanwhile, stayed at Gladbach for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign. He was therefore able to sort a pre-contract agreement with teams outside of Germany under the Bosman ruling.
It would have been a great signing for Steven Gerrard given Ginter’s experience. He is on 46 caps for Germany and has also made over 170 appearances for Gladbach.
Plus, the 28-year-old won the German cup and German super cup during a spell at Borussia Dortmund.
Matthias Ginter leaves Gerrard disappointed
According to the report, Gerrard wants to break up the centre-half partnership of Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa. Ginter could have been the perfect man to do just this.
But he rejected the chance to feature in the Premier League for the first time. Instead, Ginter will link up with Freiburg at the end of the season.
Although they could be seen as arguably a smaller club than Gladbach, the move does make sense.
Ginter was born in Freiburg and came through their academy before making 81 appearances for the senior team.
He left to join Dortmund eight years ago, which was clearly the next step in his career.
But Freiburg have made great progress recently and currently sit fourth in the German top flight. They could secure Champions League qualification for next season, while they are also 14 points ahead of Gladbach – who sit in 11th.
On the switch, Ginter said: “I wanted to do something special in my career, and there’s nothing more meaningful to me than a return to SC and to my home.
“The development the club has undergone, as well as the potential in the team and the discussions with the club over the last weeks have been great.
“To find something like that in my hometown, especially nowadays, is extremely rare. It was just a perfect fit all round.”
Freiburg sporting director Klemens Hartenbach added: “We never lost touch with Matze and he always maintained a connection to his home, both geographically and in a sporting sense.
“We are very aware of the qualities that Matze brings to the table, and will set healthy and realistic expectations together with him.
“Matze will be able to stabilise our backline and help us improve our build-up play with his skills as a footballer.
“Together with Matze, we want to tackle the challenges that next season will bring for us as a team and as a club.”