Legend has it that former German international (and Euro 96 pantomime villain - at least from England's perspective) Andreas Möller once responded to the question of where he would be plying his trade by stating "Milan or Madrid - as long as it's in Italy." Since then, Möller has disputed whether he indeed said that thing that everyone says he totally and for real said, but despite his protestations, the minor geographical gaffe has been enshrined in football lore.
Fast forward to 2016. Borussia Dortmund are, purportedly, ready to offer Mario Götze a familiar landing spot in the event that the midfielder is determined to sever ties from Bayern Munich. Or at the very least, in the words of Dortmund's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, "the door is always open." If the rumors are true, Dortmund - a familiar club and a familiar city - would be a compelling alternative to Liverpool for Götze, and their entry into the race could seriously hamper Jürgen Klopp's ability to bring the midfielder to Anfield (bearing in mind that both the race and Klopp's interest are at this point somewhat hypothetical).
Liverpool supporters who have already pre-ordered their 2016/17 Götze shirts can, however, take heart from a couple of other considerations. The first is whether or not Bayern might be inclined to sell Götze to a domestic rival rather than to an English club who - let's face it - are not going to come up against Bayern in next year's Champion's League campaign. The second is whether or not there may be other factors that might inform Dortmund's interest in recapturing their former star.
Götze's flight from Dortmund to Bayern Munich, of all destinations, was not a parting that was entirely well-received by all quarters of the Dortmund faithful. Strictly from a professional development standpoint, it was not necessarily an ill-conceived desire on Götze's part. Pep Guardiola's imminent arrival, coming off a legendary run with Barcelona, was rumored to be a significant factor in the decision, and Klopp is understood to have said ruefully at the time "I cannot make myself 15cm smaller and learn Spanish." To say, however, that it was a disappointment for Dortmund's management and their supporters is an immense understatement.
Whatever the German club's true intentions with respect to their former player, a segment of their fanbase has made its position clear. During a recent home match, the Dortmund fans are reported to have unfurled a banner mimicking Andy Möller's words, this time stating "Milan or Madrid - As long as it's not Dortmund." In case the message wasn't crystal clear, the fans added another line that was a little more emphatic in expressing dislike for Götze*. Dissent from the fans - and this was pretty vocal dissent - is unlikely to be the decisive factor in determining where Götze ends up this summer, but it does tip the scales ever so slightly back in Liverpool's favor. Don't cancel those pre-ordered shirts just yet.
*It says "P**s off, Götze." I didn't want to be rude, but you've gone and made me say it, are you happy now?