Little over 12 months since becoming Germany’s poster boy following a World Cup-winning goal, Mario Götze is apparently on the verge of expulsion from Bayern Munich after just one season with Pep Guardiola’s side.
An alleged fall out with club officials has allegedly put Arsenal on red alert, while the 23-year-old remains coy on his own future.
But allowing Götze to leave could be a self-destructive move by Bayern’s hierarchy and potentially endanger their domestic dominance.
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Costly injuries means backup is essential
Götze’s departure would leave the Bavarian side short of options behind Robert Lewandowski – and that’s before you consider the potential injury issues with their ageing stars.
On the face of it, Bayern have an abundance of options but a closer look reveals the ranks do not look quite so deep.
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For starters, the German outfit have begun pre-season without Franck Ribery. The Frenchman suffered an ankle injury against Shakhtar Donetsk in March and made just nine Bundesliga starts last term.
A recurring back injury hampered him throughout 2014 as well and at 32 years old, history dictates we may well have seen the best Ribery has to offer.
Also missing their tour of China is fellow winger Arjen Robben. A calf tear ended his 2014/15 campaign in March and another muscular injury since returning for pre-season is an ominous sign for Bayern fans.
Can Bayern rely on unproven recruit Douglas Costa?
Their frailties have forced Guardiola’s hand by signing Douglas Costa from Shakhtar Donetsk in a €30million move. The initial performances point to promise and potential, though his consistency at Bundesliga level will be scrutinised closely.
Thomas Muller remains a guaranteed starter in one of three attacking midfielder spots behind Lewandowski, should reported interest from Manchester United not tempt him to move from the Allianz Arena, leaving two spaces up for grabs among four players.
But with Robben and Ribery on the wane alongside an unknown quantity in Douglas Costa, ex-Dortmund man Götze has a pivotal role to play.
Though a starting berth may not always be forthcoming, Götze can again adeptly fill in when inevitable injuries strike and at 23, will only improve going forward.
His disposal would be a costly, short-sighted mistake by Guardiola and co.