Following a claim by Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung that Bayern Munich had told attacker Mario Götze that if he stayed at the club he would be left off next season’s Champions League squad, the German club have taken the unusual step of releasing an official statement denying those reports.
"FC Bayern Munchen has demanded that various media sources cease and desist from reporting false claims," read the statement. "It has been reported that FC Bayern has ‘threatened’ Mario Götze by stating he would not be nominated to play in the Champions League if he stays at the club. This is a complete fiction."
Earlier in the summer, chairman Karl-Heinz Runnenigge expressed puzzlement at Götze’s insistence on staying to fight for his place at the club, suggesting incoming manager Carlo Ancelotti had made clear the player wasn’t assured of seeing significant minutes and might be better off playing elsewhere next season.
Bayern’s well documented desire to sell Götze is believed to at least in part be due to the fact that the attacker has just one year left to go on his current contract and has shown no willingness to negotiate a new deal, meaning that if Bayern keep him for the coming season they run the risk of losing him for free in a year.
Götze, on the other hand, remains hopeful of earning a major role at Bayern and would see a move to Liverpool or Borussia Dortmund as a step backwards in his career—he just doesn’t want to commit to a new deal at his current club until and unless he has a major role. It all adds up to something of a stalemate.
However, given the force with which Bayern have denied rumours Götze has been threatened with being left off their Champions League squad, it seems that the situation remains about where it was a month ago. Bayern might prefer to sell, but the relationship isn’t so strained they would force Götze out by any means.
Meanwhile, with the player making it clear that he views starting at Liverpool as a downgrade to sitting on the bench at Bayern Munich, many Liverpool fans had begun to sour on the idea of the club continuing to chase the German international when the possibility of a transfer for him was last reported.
By most reports, Götze's reluctance has caused Liverpool to turn their attentions elsewhere, with Sadio Mane emerging as the most likely target in place of the early favourite, though if Götze's situation were to change significantly Liverpool might consider going back for him.