A FEW months ago, every UK journalist worth reading about Liverpool was breaking the news that Mario Götze was open to the idea of reuniting with Jürgen Klopp after falling out of favour at Bayern Munich.
Then things changed — it looked as if a return to Borussia Dortmund was the most likely scenario. Götze then sacks his agent, Volker Struth, a man Munich were reportedly not too keen on. Next, Götze decides to pledge his future to Bayern Munich, claiming he’s spoken with Carlo Ancelotti and is willing to fight for his place ahead of next season. Then another twist, as Bayern CEO, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge goes public, telling Götze in no uncertain terms that he will most likely sit on the bench if he decides to stay at the club.
Hardly the kind of response Götze would have been hoping for.
So where does all this leave Liverpool? Joining the dots, I don’t think the transfer is dead just yet. Bayern have made it crystal clear he is not wanted at the club. Götze currently has a market value of around £20million. Should he decide to run down his contract at Bayern and leave on a free transfer at the end of next season, Bayern will lose out on a valuable financial asset. It is in their interests to sell Götze, who is well down the pecking order at the Allianz Arena, this summer.
Then there’s the Klopp factor. Götze became the player he is today under the management of Klopp at Dortmund, developing a strong personal relationship which continues today. Götze and Klopp keep in touch via text and you can’t imagine that the word ‘Liverpool’ has not crept into their discussions recently. You could hardly have a more convincing, charismatic man to sell his vision for Liverpool Football Club. Has that sell now stopped? Or is it ongoing?
I’d love to see Götze in a Liverpool shirt next season. He offers the kind of star quality we need to take us to the next level and would undoubtedly improve the starting XI. He knows Klopp’s methods well, so he’d be a perfect fit. Signing the scorer of the winning goal in the World Cup final — what better statement of intent for the new season than that? He will only be 24 by the start of next season, so there would be plenty of time for Klopp to continue developing Götze’s talents.
It has been suggested that Liverpool’s failure to secure Champions League football next season by losing the Europa League final in Basel could have been a turning point in the Götze saga, with the player not willing to sacrifice European football for an entire season at this stage in his career.
But then you have to question Götze’s motivations. He will unlikely be playing much football if he stays at Bayern, regardless. Under Klopp, he would be a centrepiece of the side in an exciting new era for Liverpool — a potential immediate hit with the fans. He would be joining his fellow compatriots, Emre Can and Loris Karius, as well as playing in the most competitive league in Europe. More than likely to be guaranteed a starting spot, it would be the ideal move to further his playing career, which has stalled in Germany.
There is a chance he’s holding out for a move to Dortmund, although many of the Yellow Wall fans remain bitter about his original departure and by rejoining his old club, he would effectively be taking the safe option rather than opting for a brave but potentially far more rewarding opportunity in England. Are Dortmund realistically going to usurp Bayern domestically anytime soon? It’s highly unlikely.
Whether Götze is still a Bayern player come the end of the transfer window is still up in the air. Another big club could join the race, especially with the player having Euro 2016 to showcase his talents. Liverpool could (and reportedly already have) present a hugely attractive offer both in terms of opportunity and financially and Klopp might yet convince Gotze to join. At this stage, it’s all a guessing game. A tactical chess match of PR and agent talk. No one really knows what’s going on.
If Götze would rather sit on the bench at Bayern than work under Klopp at Liverpool, then perhaps this isn’t a man we want at the club anyway. We need characters who are hungry for success, willing to play their part in building a brighter future for Liverpool. Götze would have the chance to do that, but we shouldn’t have to force his hand. If he’s not interested, we move on. Klopp will have other targets. A contingency plan will be in place. There are plenty of other good players out there who we could move for, while there are also arguably far more important areas in the side to strengthen before shelling out £20million on another attacking midfielder.
It’s easier said than done, but it’s perhaps not worth becoming emotionally invested in potential transfers with Liverpool. Too often in recent years it has ended in tears. Yevhen Konoplyanka. Willian. Alexis Sanchez. Memphis Depay. Alex Teixeira. The list goes on. If Götze becomes another one to add to that list, then so be it.
We’ve got a manager renowned for his ability to hone young talent and his reputation will hold a greater attraction to potential targets than his predecessor. Whether a move for Götze materialises eventually or not it won’t be the be all and end all. Let’s just enjoy the ride.