Hey everyone, it’s time to play everyone’s favorite new party game, “Who The Hell Do We Sign Now, Liverpool Football Club?” (patent pending). We’ve already seen new contestants Riyah Mahrez and Thomas Lemar summoned into the studio, only for the club to (seemingly) ask those two gentlemen to get on the bus and head on home. So let’s check in on another name who had been linked to Liverpool prior to the confirmation of Philippe Coutinho’s big money move to Barcelona.
Leon Goretzka, currently of FC Schalke 04 and also a member of Contract-Expiring-Soon FC, had been linked with a number of clubs (including Liverpool), before a peculiar sequence of events unfolded in which several reports emerged suggesting a move to Bayern was finalized, followed by quick denials of the same from Schalke officials. With the Coutinho move leaving a hole in Liverpool’s midfield and a chunk of cash in the club’s pockets, interest in Goretzka’s situation is naturally growing again.
Unfortunately, it looks like the outlook is no clearer than it was before. Speaking to the Welt am Sonntag, the chair of Schalke’s board of directors, Clemens Tönnies, was guarded about whether or not a deal with anyone, including Bayern, had been reached, and seemed to suggest that all option were still on the table.
“We, our manager, our coaches, and I myself, have done everything to see that he stays,” said Tönnies. “[Goretzka] wants to announce in January what he has decided. He was also important for the sporting development of the team last summer. After the first half of the season, we are in second place now and in the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal. Leon can, and must, make a decision now.”
Among those options? The possibility that Goretzka might decide to go nowhere, and stick with the club currently 11 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga table. Admittedly, it’s a scenario that’s a long shot for Schalke.
“I’m absolutely convinced that Goretzka can develop incredibly with Schalke,” added Tönnies. “We’re not obstructing his path to other clubs in a few years. I think it would do him a lot of good to stay.”
Interestingly, just as Tönnies’ interview was released into the wild, reports (from Sky Sports and Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano among others) were emerging simultaneously that a deal with Bayern was back on the menu and all but wrapped up, with the German international midfielder making the move in the summer. At this stage, the door remains technically open for Liverpool, but it does seem to be closing fast, and Jürgen Klopp may have to look elsewhere for reinforcements in January.