Borussia Dortmund: 5 Clubs Mario Götze Could Sign for Next Season
Mario Götze joined the Borussia Dortmund youth setup at the age of eight, and broke through to the first team in 2009 as a precocious 17-year-old.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has been a loyal servant to BVB, but his pace, skill and playmaking ability have caught the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs.
If Götze is prised away from Die Schwarzgelben this summer—which would involve breaking a contract that is valid until March 2016—here are five of his most likely destinations...
Arsenal are a traditionally frugal outfit, but rumours persist that Arsene Wenger will be allowed to loosen the purse strings to the tune of £70 million this summer (via The Telegraph).
If such a kitty is provided—which would surely depend on Wenger achieving his 16th consecutive season of Champions League qualification—German newspaper Bild (translated via The Express) believe the Gunners are very interested in bringing Götze to the Emirates.
His buyout clause is believed to be in the region of €37 million, which would represent around half of the aforementioned summer budget.
That's a large proportion of a sum that may be intended for three-to-four players, but adding the 20-year-old to a midfield that already boasts Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey would make them a formidable prospect across the middle of the park.
As a matter of course, Manchester City are linked to any footballer with a pulse and a high price tag, and Herr Götze is no exception.
German paper Kicker (translated via The Guardian) claim that the Citizens want to muscle in on the race to sign the BVB winger. They report that City sporting director Txiki Begiristain met with the youngster's agent last month to explore the possibility of dressing him in a sky-blue shirt next season.
City are said to be preparing a mass summer clear-out to lower their wage turnover and make a fresh challenge on the Premier League title, and Götze could easily find himself drafted into the rejuvenated side.
Why he would wish to leave an outfit that has reached the Champions League semi-final for one that couldn't progress from the group stages, however, is unclear.
Unless he likes the idea of generous wages, that is...
While Arsenal and Manchester City have been persistently linked to Götze, the player himself has apparently set his sights elsewhere. He is quoted by several sources, including the Daily Mail, as saying:
I am very happy at Dortmund and satisfied with the way we are progressing as a team. Any thoughts about playing for another team are very much for the future, but Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester United could be interesting.
The Mail asserts that the German wishes to join the Spanish giants the season after next, although there is no suggestion that the club reciprocate the feeling.
However, given the amount of high-profile talent to which Real Madrid are being linked, Barca would certainly want to stay competitive in the transfer market, and Götze's technical skills and ability to pick out great passes with both feet should stand him in good stead for his dream move.
Along side Barcelona and Real Madrid, Götze identified Manchester United as a club he could see himself playing for in the future.
The Independent cites the attacking midfielder as a "target" of the Red Devils, and the playmaker would certainly fit in with Sir Alex Ferguson's brand of football.
Yet the Scottish manager appears to be more interested in bringing teammate Robert Lewandowski to Old Trafford, having already made a bid for the Polish striker last summer (via The Sun).
However, Lewandowski and Götze have shown some exceptional link-up play this season, so don't be surprised if a club like United makes an audacious bid for the pair.
If Götze wishes to change employer but stay in his home nation, he will need to consider joining BVB's fiercest rival: Bayern Munich.
The Bavarians made their interest in the player quite clear in 2011, with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge telling Sport Bild (translated via ESPNFC.com) that he is a "fantastic player" who would fit in with the recently crowned Bundesliga champions.
At the time of the interest, Goal.com reported Götze as saying he could not rule a move out, but Dortmund were fairly unhappy about the speculation.
BVB would definitely be reticent to strengthen their biggest rival with one of their best assets, but if Pep Guardiola adheres to Bayern's general preference for signing German national team players—and if he is granted the significant transfer funds that have been rumoured—Götze would be an excellent signing.