The Mario Gotze saga is threatening to run long into the summer.
Liverpool has been identified as a potential target for the unsettled Bayern Munich star, who was recently told by the chairman of the Bundesliga champions, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, to reconsider his desire to stay at the Allianz Arena.
So it’s looking likely that the 2014 World Cup winner will depart in the summer, but a report in SportBild doesn’t read well for Liverpool fans.
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Jurgen Klopp is reportedly keen on making Gotze his chief playmaker but the 23-year-old doesn’t have a great view of Liverpool.
In SportBild’s report - brought to our attention by Sport Witness - it is claimed that Gotze has snubbed a move to Anfield because he feels a move to Merseyside would be a backwards step in his career.
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That is pretty obvious. Bayern Munich have just clinched their fourth-straight Bundesliga title, while they reached the final four of the Champions League. Liverpool, meanwhile, finished eighth in the Premier League and were beaten in the Europa League final.
But a move to Liverpool represented the chance for Gotze to reignite a stagnant career under a manager largely responsible for his status as one of football's most promising talents.
It was also the opportunity to be a part of an exciting team with hopes of becoming a regular title contender.
Potential landing spot in north London
Gotze has identified Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Arsenal as clubs he should be aiming for. Barcelona and Los Blancos we understand, but Arsenal?
The Gunners, who have been knocked out of the Champions League round-of-16 in each of the past six seasons, certainly aren’t a step above Bayern.
And where would he fit in? Santi Cazorla isn’t getting any younger, admittedly, but Gotze would struggle to displace Mesut Ozil after the former Real Madrid man’s fine season.
Whether Gotze has done enough in the two years since he won the World Cup to earn a move to the Camp Nou and Bernabeu can be debated. He only started 11 Bundesliga games this season, casting doubts over his potential.
Rummenigge: Gotze knows Bayern's plan
Gotze would be better off signing for a club where he is guaranteed minutes. This would allow him to recover from an injury-hit season and restore his reputation as one of the most exciting playmakers in Europe.
He’s unlikely to get that opportunity in Bavaria if Rummenigge’s recent comments are anything to go by.
“I had talks with him (Gotze) and (Carlo) Ancelotti. Mario knows the thoughts of Bayern,” he told Kicker magazine, per the Independent. “Everything was clearly and seriously explained to Mario.
“He knows what the club thinks and what the new coach thinks. Mario has to evaluate for himself whether he wants to play constantly.”
But Gotze has voiced his desire to stay at the German champions to national team manager Joachim Low. Whether or not he gets his wish remains to be seen.