Following their failure to qualify for the Champions League for a third successive season, Arsenal have been linked with Germany’s World Cup winner Mario Gotze.
The 27-year-old, who famously scored the only goal of the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina after coming on as a substitute, has one year left on his current contract at Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund.
However, Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc says he has not been approached by Gotze regarding a transfer and hinted that the club are ready to hold a meeting with the attacking midfielder to discuss the possibilities of signing a new deal.
According to a newspaper report, Zorc says he will sit down with the player at the start of next season to chat about the future, adding that he continually hears rumours about players possibly heading to England but says “as always, we are relaxed”.
With the Gunners’ finishing fifth in the Premier League in 2018/19, just one point behind their north London rivals Tottenham, Arsenal manager Unai Emery will not be able to offer Gotze any Champions League football next season.
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And with less money in the pot because they are competing in the Europa League once again, Arsenal may struggle to offer Dortmund the level of cash the German club believes Gotze is worth.
By contrast, Dortmund will be playing in Europe’s top tier again next season, but will have to recover from the disappointment of failing to end Bayern Munich’s six-year run as Bundesliga champions.
Dortmund were well placed to clinch their first title since 2012 (when Jurgen Klopp was coach), but a disappointing end to the campaign saw Bayern overtake their big rivals and pip them at the post.
The one-time leaders were beaten 4-2 at home by Schalke in late April and followed that with a 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen who had been trailing by two goals after an hour.
Bayern ended the season two points above Dortmund, and Bundesliga betting for 2019/20 lists the reigning champions as the favourites to make it eight titles in a row.
The two sides will meet again in the German Super Cup on August 3, by which time Gotze’s immediate future may be slightly clearer.
So, what would Gotze bring to Arsenal if he were to move to the Emirates Stadium? The stocky midfielder was a member of Klopp’s team which clinched the Bundesliga title seven years ago and, in the summer of 2013, was snapped up by Bayern.
While with the five-time European champions, he added three more league titles to his CV before returning to Dortmund in 2016.
Gotze made his debut for Germany as an 18-year-old in 2010, and since then has won more than 60 caps for the national team.
Often used as a playmaker, he has speed, great technical abilities and a reputation for taking on opponents one-to-one.
The Gunners, who were recently beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final, desperately require fresh impetus in order to rekindle their hopes of reaching the promised land of the Champions League, having not played in Europe’s elite competition since losing 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in March 2017.