Incoming Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti has decided Mario Gotze has no future at the Bundesliga club, pouring fuel on the speculative fire that he could be set reunite with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool this summer.
That's according to Denis Huber of German outlet TZ (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star), who reported that amid the club's preparations to tie stars down to new deals, "Ancelotti has not made contact with Gotze or his representatives and that the midfielder will not be part of his plans."
Liverpool are named as one of four teams interested in the attacking midfielder, who could cost £31 million, along with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
In January, he told SportBild (h/t Goal's Melissa Reddy) he would wait to hear from Ancelotti before deciding on a move elsewhere:
I have a contract until 2017, but what the new coach thinks about me is very important. The decisive factor is what the coach is planning so we have to see how it will go on. During my injury time I haven't thought much about that [the future], but as I said, it's all up in the air. It depends on the club's and the new coach's plans.
If the Italian does not plan on using Gotze, he's sure to offload him in the summer—particularly so the club can cash in on him before his contract expires the following year.
Football writer and pundit Raphael Honigstein believes the 23-year-old—who has spent the majority of the season injured—is a realistic target for Liverpool:
Raphael Honigstein @honigstein
Götze is certainly injured enough for LFC. Unlikely to come back before February. But seriously: could well happen in the summer2016-1-8 09:06:29
Despite being restricted to just 615 minutes of play this season, Gotze has scored a respectable total of four goals—just over one per 90 minutes—and also assisted a further two.
Bleacher Report's Jack Lusby is relishing the prospect of the former Dortmund man lining up alongside Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in the Reds attack:
Jack Lusby @jacklusby_
Playing devil's advocate here now Paul Joyce has confirmed #LFC's interest in Mario Gotze: Coutinho, Firmino and Gotze behind Sturridge...2016-1-8 13:03:07
DW Sports' Stefan Bienkowski believes his failure to kick on his career at Bayern Munich to be something of a concern, though:
Stefan Bienkowski @SBienkowski
It says a lot about Mario Gotze's time at Bayern that he's openly contemplating a move. He hasn't moved forward at all under Guardiola.2016-1-8 15:15:28
Indeed, last season he ended an injury-free campaign with 15 goals and seven assists—by no means poor tallies. But in 48 appearances for a side that has a tendency to bowl teams over and rack up significant scorelines, you'd expect better from a player of Gotze's undoubted quality.
Reuniting with Klopp—for whom he shone at Borussia Dortmund—could reignite his career. The prospect of rejoining him will work heavily in Liverpool's favour, even against the likes of Real Madrid in a bidding war, so the Kop may well have a new marquee player to cheer on next season.
In other news, Liverpool youngster Jerome Sinclair could be on his way to Aston Villa when his deal expires this summer, according to Neil Moxley of the Mirror, who said "he has shown no signs he plans to agree a new one" .
With Villa almost certain to be plying their trade in the Championship next season—they're nine points from safety with nine games to go—cheap transfers will be the order of the day. Compensation is all they'd need to pay the Reds if they were to snap up Sinclair, for whom they've "made inquiries."
The 19-year-old has scored once in five senior appearances for Liverpool. The Midlands outfit is far likelier to offer him regular first-team football, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he did make the switch.