Liverpool will have to see off competition from Serie A champions Juventus in their bid to land Bayern Munich star Mario Gotze this summer—per Italian outlet Calciomercato (via James Whaling of Daily Mirror).
The 2014 FIFA World Cup winner has been linked with a switch to Anfield ever since Jurgen Klopp took over as manager, but Juventus have now joined the race to secure his services.
And the Old Lady are reportedly confident that Gotze will choose life in Turin over Merseyside, despite the forward’s relationship with the Liverpool manager.
Klopp turned Gotze from young, relative unknown into a household name at Borussia Dortmund, and the pair enjoyed ample success together in their native Germany.
However, the 23-year-old’s time hasn’t been quite as fruitful at Bayern Munich, where he’s found himself spending a lot of time on the substitutes' bench.
The electric Kingsley Coman’s emergence has only slipped the injury-stricken Gotze further down the Bayern pecking order, and Whaling wrote that the German is now willing to depart Bavaria in the search of more regular football.
But despite the constant rumours surrounding Gotze and a move to Anfield, the player himself said in January that no approach had been made—although he appeared to be open to hearing from Klopp, via Whaling of Daily Mirror:
“I don’t know where the rumours about Klopp and me are coming from. I have not heard anything. You should ask Klopp if he wants me at Liverpool. If he wants me, he should approach me.”
Gotze’s contract at the Allianz Arena expires next summer, so if Bayern are willing to sell the forward, they’ll have to cash in over the coming months.
Liverpool and Juventus both have the capability to meet whatever price Munich demand for Gotze, so it could well be a case of personal preference. And for the Reds, Klopp is a huge lure.
Where do Liverpool desperately need to strengthen this summer?
Elsewhere, Liverpool have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Granit Xhaka, who told Sky Germany that it’s a dream of his to play in the Premier League.
The Switzerland international has attracted plenty of interest from the English top flight thanks to his solid performances in the Bundesliga, and he admitted that an offer would be hard to turn down—via Joe Rimmer of Liverpool Echo:
"I think everybody has a dream. Everybody has a childhood dream and that’s my childhood dream. If it comes true remains to be seen, and at the moment I cannot say how realistic it is."
Liverpool could make Xhaka’s dream realistic by putting an offer on the table, and if German outlet Bild's January report is to be believed, the Reds can secure his services for £22.7 million—via Duncan Wright of the Sun.
Klopp has proved over the years that he’s an incredibly talented and astute manager, but the Liverpool squad needs plenty of tweaking before the German can enjoy Premier League success.
Adding the likes of Gotze and Xhaka would finally give Klopp the platform from which to build and make Liverpool a formidable force once again.