Liverpool's interest in Mario Gotze has led to the player being given extra security by current club Bayern Munich, according to a report from German publication Bild (h/t Sport Witness' Dipesh Agarwal, via Metro's Mark Brus).
Gotze is currently working at Munich's winter training camp in Qatar. The World Cup winner recently appeared to endorse a move to Anfield to reunite with former manager Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking to TZ (h/t Metro's Tom Olver), Gotze made comments that may be interpreted as a come-and-get-me plea to the man who coached him at Borussia Dortmund: "I have not heard anything. You should ask Klopp if he wants me at Liverpool. If he wants me, he should approach me."
While Gotze also stated he "can rule out a move to Liverpool this winter," his connection to Klopp will likely keep the rumours going. Gotze developed under Klopp's tutelage in Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga and helping the club reach the UEFA Champions League final in the 2012/13 season.
Klopp's new team is hardly short of advanced playmakers in midfield positions. Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho are all suited to the type of game Klopp loves.
Agarwal wrote that the extra security around Gotze could be intended as a buffer designed to prevent any more mixed messages from the player to the press: "The 23-year-old is carrying on his intense rehabilitation, while security guards follow him everywhere and keep a close eye on those taking pictures or trying to talk to the player."
But he also argued how the club is mindful of Gotze's contract situation. His current terms expire in 2017, and "there are no guarantees he'll sign a new deal."
However, Bundesliga writer and reporter Raphael Honigstein (h/t Charles Perrin of the Daily Express) believes Liverpool will have to wait until the summer if they are serious about signing Gotze.
Perrin carried quotes from the player indicating his eagerness to work with Italian Carlo Ancelotti, who will succeed Pep Guardiola as Bayern manager next season.
All of the reports note how no specific reason has been given for the increased security presence around Gotze. But it's the kind of strange development that will do nothing to quiet speculation, instead only increasing the transfer chatter.
The Reds don't need Gotze, but Klopp may feel that the more familiar faces the better for his Anfield revolution. Yet it looks like he'll be kept waiting for Gotze.