Speculation linking Mario Gotze with a move to Liverpool has intensified this week - and the Bayern Munich star might be even more tempted to leave the Allianz Arena after comments made by Mehmet Scholl on Tuesday night.
The former Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder hit out at Gotze before Joachim Low’s side’s 4-1 friendly win over Italy, claiming the 23-year-old doesn’t train as hard as he should and lacks consistency.
Scholl believes Gotze is a shadow of the player who rose to fame at Borussia Dortmund and feels the only man to blame for his regression is himself.
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“Why can’t he produce consistent performances?” Scholl said on ARD television, per the Liverpool Echo. “For me the answer is obvious - he has to train much, much more.
“I remember when he was very young at Dortmund. He was an arrow, he was so fast, he was so athletic. At the moment he is so far removed from that.”
Liverpool could sign Gotze for £20m
The Daily Mail reported on Tuesday that Liverpool are confident of signing Gotze, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, for just £20 million this summer - £12 million less than they signed him for in the summer of 2013.
However, it must be noted that the cut-price fee would, in part, be down to the fact Gotze only has one year left to run on his current contract.
Pep Guardiola told Bayern Munich he wanted Gotze, presumably in the hope he would become his new version of Lionel Messi - a versatile forward capable of playing as a False 9 when required - before he joined the Bavarians.
But even though his statistics aren’t too bad - a combined 30 goals in all competitions in his two full seasons at the Allianz Arena - the Memmingen-born midfielder has flattered to deceive since joining the Bundesliga giants.
Gotze hits back at Scholl
Gotze, however, has categorically denied Scholl’s accusation that he isn’t putting enough work in on the training ground.
“I didn’t know that he observes my training, that he is always there,” the World Cup winner responded. “I think that I train enough.”
Gotze, who has missed a large chunk of the season through injury, must have felt he’d made Scholl eat his words by scoring Germany’s second goal on Tuesday night.
The midfielder played for an hour before being subbed off for Marco Reus.
Gotze could help Bayern win the treble
Gotze will now be focused on helping Bayern Munich win as many trophies as possible over the coming weeks.
Guardiola’s men are favourites to win the Bundesliga title for a third consecutive season - they sit five points clear of Dortmund in pole position - and will win their first trophy of the season on April 19, the DFB Pokal, if they can see off Werder Bremen in the final.
Bayern were also handed a favourable draw in the Champions League quarter-finals: a two-legged tie against Benfica.
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