In other news, Mario Götze has signed for Bayern Munich, moving back to Bavaria to further strengthen a side that has already obliterated their domestic league, and could be set to rule Europe as well.
The German giants have activated the 20-year-old’s release clause – €37m – to secure the signature of one of the most exciting prospects in not only Germany, but the world.
With Pep Guardiola’s arrival imminent, at least one big summer signing had been anticipated, although much of the talk had centred on Götze’s Dortmund teammate, Robert Lewandowski.
Indeed, many have been reporting since January that a deal to take the Pole to the Allianz Arena has been concluded, though there has been no official confirmation, and it remains to be seen whether the signing of Götze changes things on that front.
The signing of Götze comes as something of a surprise, not least because they managed to keep it so quiet. However, Bayern’s modus operandi has long been if you can’t beat them, sign them (and even if you do beat them, sign them anyway, lest they get a chance to exact revenge. See also: Gomez, Neuer). In one swoop, they’ve massively strengthened themselves and severely weakened their closest rivals.
Götze has long been tipped for superstardom, making his debut for Dortmund in 2010, and playing a big part in their title winning 2010/11 season. While last season he struggled with injuries, he has been integral to them this season, forming a deadly partnership with Marco Reus and playing a big part in their Champions League campaign.
It’s fairly easy to see where Götze will fit in at Bayern, although exactly how they’ll manage all of the attacking talent at their disposal. He will join Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben; Xherdan Shaqiri, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro in the Munich armoury.
It looks almost certain Mario Gomez will be off to pastures new, regardless of whether or not Lewandowski does arrive, but apart from that there’s certainly going to be no shortage of options for Guardiola.
Götze would fit well into the 4-2-3-1 currently deployed by Jupp Heynckes, with the ability to play in any of the three positions behind the striker, and experience playing alongside Kroos and Müller at international level.
However, it could be the experiment of using him as a ‘false 9’ – seen with both Germany and Dortmund this season – that has really caught the attention of the incoming Catalonian boss.
If Pep chooses to install the 4-3-3 system that, by all accounts, didn’t work too badly at Barcelona, then Götze could be his Messi. No pressure, then.
Given some of the transfer fees seen in recent seasons – *cough* Andy Carroll *cough* – £32m seems a relative bargain for a player with the world at his feet.
Bayern have received a 1-up. For the rest of the Bundesliga, it could be game over.