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Rumour Mongering: Barcelona Beat Bayern and Liverpool to Goretzka

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The Schalke star’s contract is running down and the player can move on a free in the summer.

Germany v Mexico: Semi-Final - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Liverpool were linked with a move for Leon Goretzka last summer, with the 22-year-old Schalke midfielder looking a strong alternate when attempts to sign Naby Keïta for last summer fell short. In the end, though, if the interest was ever real and not just a figment of rumour mongers’ imaginations, it never turned into a firm offer.

With his contract running out at the end of the current season, though, he has continued to be linked off and on though the autumn. He’s also been linked with Juventus and Bayern Munich, with some suggesting Bayern’s interest is why Liverpool never bid for him last summer—Goretzka was always waiting on the German giants.

Now, though, at least if the Catalan press are to be believed, the club he’s actually been waiting on is Barcelona. And Barcelona have now decided Goretzka is not just their top midfield target for next summer and the man to replace the aging Andres Iniesta but that a January move for the German international makes a lot of sense.

Mundo Deportivo claim Barcelona will pay up to €15M to convince Schalke to let Goretzka depart six months early and to ensure it is them and not Bayern—or perhaps even Juventus or Liverpool—who eventually win his signature at the end of the current season. If they manage that, it would certainly be a high quality signing.

It also might be that, just as Goretzka was linked with Liverpool when it became clear Keïta wouldn’t arrive last summer, it might signal the Catalans have accepted they won’t be signing their real top midfield target, Philippe Coutinho. Meanwhile, for Liverpool, the rumoured Goretzka interest remains largely unsubstantiated.

Despite the fact that on paper he looks a perfect fir for Jürgen Klopp’s side, there has yet to be anything more than tabloid chatter—any interest is more speculative than certain. Plus, Liverpool already know they’ll be getting their top midfield target in next summer thanks to the late agreement of a deferred deal for Keïta.