Mario Gotze makes open plea to leave Bayern - but where to?
Bayern Munich forward Mario Goetze has openly suggested that he wants to quit the German champions this summer.
A year after scoring the winning goal for Germany in the World Cup final, Mario Gotze has an uncertain road ahead of him with his future at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich up in the air.
The midfielder was on target in a 3-0 win over Milan in a pre-season tournament in Munich on Tuesday, but after the match he spoke up candidly about the elephant in the room: his two years at Bayern might have seen him win consecutive league titles, but personally they have been far from successful.
The 23-year-old joined from rivals Borussia Dortmund in a huge transfer in 2013, but instead of spearheading Bayern's attacking midfield has languished on the Bayern bench and struggled for consistency during his limited time on the pitch.
Coach Pep Guardiola seems to have little time for the player: the Spaniard used Gotze for just six minutes in their German Super Cup defeat to VfL Wolfsburg last week and he played the full 90 minutes in just 16 of their 34 league games last season.
The arrival of Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal at the Allianz Arena will make competition for places will be even tougher this season, and with the player in the final two years of his contract a sale looks a distinct possibility.
GOTZE'S 'COME AND GET ME PLEA'
Thomas Mueller of Muenchen celebrates with Mario Goetze and Dante during the DFB Cup first round match between Preussen Muenster and FC Bayern MuenchenEurosport
"It is clear that the last two years were not that easy.
"We will see what happens. We will see if he will speak to me more often. Now I will just let things come to me. For anything else we will have to see."
BLAME FROM ON HIGH?
Bayern's honorary president Franz Beckenbauer has been one of Gotze's many critics, openly demanding more quality from the player, while club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said recently if he were Goetze's agent he would advise him to "stay at Bayern and step on the gas".
Pep Guardiola and Mario GoetzeImago
THE POSSIBLE SUITORS
A player whose €37 million release clause was happily paid just two years ago clearly has some talent, and the fact that Pep Guardiola hasn't been able to tap into it means little. After all, the Spaniard famously failed to gel with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose storming form at every other club he's ever played for has made him a genuine footballing icon.
Manchester United will be the name on everyone's lips. Louis van Gaal spoke only recently about an impending big signing who hadn't been mentioned in the media - and so far this summer, there has been precious little transfer gossip surrounding the man who fired the winning goal in the World Cup final, so that all seems to line up nicely.
Furthermore, United's sole senior striker is Wayne Rooney, who is himself knocking on 30, so something is needed. Throw in United's newly-signed Bayern legend Bastian Schweinsteiger to help smooth things over... and, well, it becomes irresistible to make the leap to predicting a move to Old Trafford.
Juventus have been linked with Gotze in the past, and have money to spend this summer - not least from the £28m they just took from Bayern for Arturo Vidal. But it seems to us that if a deal had been in the offing, it would have been done as part of a swap with Vidal at the time.
Liverpool might have something to say about it as well, because they seem to be keen on buying anyone decent they can realistically get their hands on these days.
As for Arsenal? They have a healthy German contingent at the club already. Yet Gotze doesn't feel to us like "Wenger-type" player, or personality for that matter, and Arsenal have enough attacking midfielders to last them until Doomsday. They do need a striker, however, and could re-invent Gotze as an out-and-out front man - though if anyone were to do that, it might equally be Chelsea since they really need back-up for the often-injured Diego Costa.
VIEW FROM GERMANY
Ljubo Herceg, Eurosport.de: "Guardiola doesn’t want to sell him, and Bayern aren't sure either. If they do, it would be confession of Bayern’s transfer failure. He was very expensive and is Germany’s World Cup hero But we’re thinking if good money was on the table - €40-50 million or so - from Juventus or any other clubs, they would sit down and discuss it. But it's important for Bayern not to lose face."