Talk of Mario Gotze moving to Old Trafford seemed fantastical a few weeks ago, until the man himself revealed a desire to one day play for the Red Devils.
Last month, the German playmaker said "clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United are attractive, and playing in another top league would shape me and help me develop as a player." (via The Independent)
Such words are music to the ears of Manchester United fans, who would welcome a player of his quality to the club with open arms.
The biggest sticking point would be the prodigy's price tag. A bid of at least £35 million would be needed to be made in order to lure him to Manchester.
Gotze has been a key reason behind Borussia Dortmund's rise to prominence in European football.
Jurgen Klopp's side has claimed Bundesliga glory the last two seasons, playing attractive, attacking football with the 20-year-old often at the apex of midfield.
This article will look at what Gotze would bring to the Red Devils, were Sir Alex Ferguson to make an audacious move in the near future.
The State of Things in Manchester
It is no secret that Manchester United's biggest weaknesses currently lie in midfield.
One could talk about the lack of form shown by wingers Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia until dawn, but there have been other deficiencies too.
Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are both world-class forwards, but have failed to click at any point this season.
Rooney has shown glimpses that the trequartista position is his long-term calling, but not often enough.
Shinji Kagawa could be the man for the job, but his transition to the English game has been slower than some had hoped.
The midfield has been devoid of imagination at times, with individual brilliance relied upon to claim vital results.
With the exception of Rooney, there are no world-class players operating in the middle of the park at Old Trafford.
Michael Carrick does a certain job, and well, but he is not a conductor of the orchestra. Neither is United's own burgeoning midfield maestro, Tom Cleverley.
What Mario Gotze Does Well
If the Red Devils are lacking an imagination in midfield, Gotze would solve this issue.
His brilliance on the ball and ability to compose himself and keep possession in the tightest of spots is exceptional.
He roams behind the striker, across the attacking line, either creating chances or finishing them off.
This season he has racked up eight assists in 20 Bundesliga appearances and scored the same number of goals himself.
He, Marco Reus and Jakub Blaszczykowski are one of the most dangerous forward trios in football—they have scored a combined 28 goals—a far cry from the Red Devils' lack of production in attacking midfield.
Gotze's passing has improved dramatically over the past couple of seasons—Dortmund are a team that values the importance of keeping possession, and the German youngster is key.
Klopp's side are second in the league in terms of average possession per game (via WhoScored.com).
This being said, they have also been deadly hitting teams on the counter attack, with their pacy forward men used to devastating effect.
The trio, with Robert Lewandowski as striker, are clinical finishers, Gotze no exception.
Klopp also asks his players to provide plenty of pressure high up the pitch. The 20-year-old has excellent stamina—a requirement for being one of the boss's hit men.
How He Would Fit
Sir Alex Ferguson has long preached the importance of free-flowing, attacking football. But this season his team has just not delivered.
Mario Gotze would provide the missing link in the 4-2-3-1—his addition would instantly transform the Red Devils' game.
Wayne Rooney would have to be shunted out to either a wide or deeper position, but this would be a necessary evil.
The way United's wingers have performed this term, having a front three of Kagawa, Gotze and Rooney would almost certainly be preferable.
The Scotsman may decide to shift back to the 4-3-3 formation next season, but this setup wouldn't necessarily suit Gotze.
The 4-3-3 relies on a more gradual, technical breakdown of opponents—the German is fully capable of playing a run-and-gun style and should be utilised as such.
He would be the midfield scoring threat that Valencia and Co. have not been, while also being capable of threading a slide rule pass through to Robin van Persie to finish off.
With Anderson possibly on his way out, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs close to retirement and Tom Cleverley yet to hold down a permanent place in the starting lineup, there wouldn't be any trouble finding a place for Gotze in the United team.
Naturally this is all conjecture—while the Mario Gotze to Manchester United move is an ideal one, the club seems to be more focused on other targets at present.
The German is yet to turn 21 and yet to move out of his parents' house—he is likely to remain in Dortmund beyond the summer (via Goal.com).
But just knowing he would be willing to play for the Red Devils is enough.
Would you like to see Mario Gotze one day play for United? How would he fit?
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