Bayern Munich star Mario Gotze has hinted that he could link up with former manager Jurgen Klopp in a sensational switch to Liverpool.
The 23-year-old told German publication Sport Bild (via Sky Sports) that his future at the Allianz Arena all comes down to the plans of Carlo Ancelotti, who takes the reins from Pep Guardiola in the summer, before admitting that he got on very well with the Liverpool boss:
I know Jurgen Klopp well. I've worked under him. He is a very good coach, definitely. It's all open, how to proceed after the season. I have a contract until 2017, but of course, it is important how the new coach feels about me. I have not really given my future much thought recently because of my injury, but everything is open as things stand. It all depends on the plans of the club and the new coach.
Gotze came through the youth ranks at Borussia Dortmund and forced his way into Klopp’s first team in 2009 at just 17 years of age.
It was under the Liverpool boss’ watchful eye that the forward made a name for himself in world football, and Bundesliga journalist Jan Aage Fjortoft revealed Gotze owes everything to his former manager:
Mario Götze is Klopp's "baby". He made him a superstar. Was very sad when he left for Bayern. Great player, but hasn't arrived at Bayern— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) January 8, 2016
However, as Fjortoft stated, Gotze hasn’t quite produced the goods with Bayern, and despite his World Cup-winning exploits in 2014, he still carries the overrated tag.
So could Klopp be the man to put his former “baby” back on the road to footballing immortality? Liverpool fans will certainly hope so, and journalist Raphael Honigstein cheekily said he’d fit right in at Anfield:
Götze is certainly injured enough for LFC. Unlikely to come back before February. But seriously: could well happen in the summer— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) January 8, 2016
Gotze has been sidelined since October with a niggling groin injury, yet he’s unlikely to join the long list of names on the Liverpool treatment table, as any potential transfer will wait until the summer.
Where do Liverpool need to strengthen in January?
Bild claimed Bayern would demand €50 million for Gotze (via Eurosport), yet as he’ll have one year remaining on his contract at the end of the campaign, Liverpool could look to knock that price down.
Elsewhere, the Reds look like finally strengthening their shaky back line with the capture of Inter Milan defender Andrea Ranocchia.
Sky Italia journalist Fabrizio Romano revealed Liverpool are in talks with the Italian, whom Inter want to sell to the Premier League outfit despite domestic interest:
Ranocchia is a tough-tackling, ball-playing centre-back who could undoubtedly solidify Klopp’s shaky back line. Here’s a look at what he could bring to Anfield:
Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport (via Daily Telegraph) reported Inter have accepted a £6.7 million bid from Liverpool, with the Serie A side keen to cash in on the player ahead of making their own January signings.
Liverpool are generally a busy side in the transfer window, but activity is more crucial than ever.
You get the sense Klopp doesn’t quite trust his current crop, and unless he brings in the necessary personnel in January, the Reds could have another season to forget.