With the transfer window a mere
days weeks months away, the more diligent rumourmongers among the press have already gotten a head start on weaving the transfer sagas that may or may not (probably not) define the summer of 2016. According to reports in Fichajes and the Daily Star, Liverpool, not content with securing the services of Jöel Matip from Schalke, are plotting to expand their Bundesliga contingent by bringing in Mario Götze and Granit Xhaka, in a move that will amplify the pressure on Premier League rivals and on journalists who still have not been able to locate the umlaut shortcuts on their keyboards.
This will not have been the first time that Götze, currently plying his trade at Bayern München, and Xhaka, presently roaming the midfield at Borussia Mönchengladbach, have been linked with Liverpool. What's different this time around? Not much really, other than the inclusion of some spurious numbers to make sure everyone is clear that this is for real, and some speculative insight into the purported motivations for targeting these two in particular.
The numbers in question? £66.5 million for the pair, not including taxes, shipping and handling, or approximately £31.5 million for Götze and £35 million for Xhaka respectively. That's not a "buy-it-now" price of course, and if there is any genuine interest on Liverpool's part in either player, the machinations of other purported suitors (which include such luminaries as Manchester City, Arsenal, Juventus and Chelsea, depending on whom you ask) will no doubt come into play. Those numbers would actually represent something of a bargain, if true, given the youth and promise of the two players as well as the much publicized cash windfall supposedly flowing in to English coffers.
As for the reasons underlying Liverpool's alleged pursuit (other than the fact that both happen to be young and rather competent at the footballing thing), the eagle-eyed observers floating this particular rumour have pointed to the fact that Jürgen Klopp has some modest familiarity with both Götze and the Bundesliga in general. How others have not made this connection is a mystery. To be fair, there has been a bit of a trend of newly appointed managers from the continent initiating a wave of recruitment from their home leagues. Think, of course, to Gérard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, and the uptick in French and Spanish names following the respective arrivals of those managers.
But wait, there's more! According to the aforementioned reports, Klopp has specifically identified Götze as a perfect partner-in-crime for Philippe Coutinho. The efficacy of their pairing has been, and no doubt will continue to be, attested to by armchair managers around the world, particularly those lucky enough to own either an Xbox or a Playstation and a working copy of FIFA 16.
Levity aside, there are valid reasons for believing that both Götze and Xhaka are primed for moves to the Premier League. Götze has struggled with inconsistent playing time and injuries since his high profile move to Munich, while Xhaka has in other contexts publicly noted his desire to play in England. Both players would be assets to many a Premier League squad, and setting aside the not-inconsiderable Klopp factor, it remains to be seen whether Liverpool do indeed have both the desire and the inside track on securing their services.