Liverpool have put up a fight, but in the end it appears they have lost out on the signing of Schalke’s star 22-year-old midfielder Leon Goretzka and that the player will, as was widely expected, choose Bayern Munich, and the belief at the club is that he will now sign a pre-contract with them shortly.
It had been widely reported in Germany at the start of the month that Goretzka had chosen Bayern, but as the days and then weeks passed and his current club denied he had made a decision on his future, it appeared the Reds might still have a chance. According to The Liverpool Echo, that chance is gone.
The expectation, says James Pearce, is that Goretzka will sign with Bayern within a matter of days now. That the club have received little encouragement from the player’s representatives recently and that, barring a late and unexpected shift, no longer believe they are in the running for him.
This is, obviously, a blow. It also isn’t a surprise. Goretzka on a free would have been a coup with Bayern Munich and Barcelona both wanting to sign the player, though Jürgen Klopp’s presence at Anfield allowed the Reds to provide a much stronger challenge for Bayern than in the end Barcelona did.
If he had signed, it is unclear if Liverpool would have been content to wait for summer or if they might have sought to do an early deal and bring him in now as Philippe Coutinho’s replacement. Either way, though, with Goretzka off the table, fans will hope the club will move for another midfield target.