With Mario Götze’s time at Bayern Munich apparently at an end, speculation has been that the two frontrunners to land the 23-year-old star this summer are Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. Götze’s best years, of course, came at Dortmund under current Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp, and so far it’s those two connections that has driven the speculation.
However, Dortmund’s CEO has publicly confirmed his club’s interest in Götze, something that has long been suspected despite the fact that many Dortmund fans appear resistant to a reunion with the player who shunned them three years ago for a move to Germany’s biggest club. That move may have hurt, but Dortmund won’t let that stop them if there’s a deal to be done.
"If he’s on the market, then it’s clear we will have discussions about him," said Hans-Joachim Watzke earlier this week. "The door is always open for a player who has come from Dortmund. If he were to return here then we would need to talk to the fans, and he would have to explain how he left for Bayern, but I don’t think that they would not give him a second chance."
Götze’s move as a 20-year-old on the verge of superstardom sat badly with Dortmund fans. Bayern’s appeal in Germany is obvious, but given Dortmund’s own standing and that they were preparing for a Champions League semi-final when the move was announced, it all felt premature and poorly timed. The closest comparison for Liverpool fans in recent seasons would be Raheem Sterling.
Only while Sterling was coming off an 11 goal, 10 assist season and Liverpool got £50M back for him, Götze was coming off a 16 goal, 20 assist season and Dortmund got back €37M—or about £29M at current exchange rates. And while Liverpool were mired in mid-table when Sterling left, Dortmund were domestic challengers and a Champions League fixture.
Still, for a player of his quality—for the brightest attacking talent of his generation in Germany and maybe even in all of Europe—one imagines forgiveness might be forthcoming. Especially if he now costs less than they sold him for three years ago and is suitably contrite. As such, it’s hardly a surprise that the interest is there, and that it has now been confirmed by Dortmund’s CEO.
On the Liverpool end, meanwhile, a number of journalists with ties to the club have confirmed over the past few months that Götze is indeed one of the top transfer targets for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. As has been expected all along, it looks as though it’s going to be a two-club race for Mario Götze this summer.