One of the most eagerly awaited summer transfer sagas, is done and dusted by early spring.
Borussia Dortmund confirmed earlier this morning that forward prodigy Mario Götze will join German rivals Bayern Munich for approximately $48 million on July 1. “We are obviously disappointed beyond measure,” Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke said. “But emphasize that both Mario and his agent have behaved within the terms of the contract.”
Götze’s release clause has been met by Bayern, as incoming manager Pep Guardiola already begins to assemble his squad for next season by adding one of German soccer’s brightest young talents.
But the timing of the announcement seems quite bizarre. It great news for Munich who face Barcelona tonight in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal, knowing a talented young star will be added to the ranks during preseason. But quite demoralizing for Dortmund who face Real Madrid tomorrow in the other semifinal, knowing one of their best (if not the best) players is heading elsewhere.
And it isn’t just to any club; it’s their biggest Bundesliga rivals to the South. Many may argue it’s a sideways move. Why leave Germany’s second biggest side, for the biggest? Why leave behind the club you have been with since a youngster for their bitter rivals? Plus he may spend plenty of time on the bench at Munich, with the likes Franck Ribery, Thomas Müller, Arjen Robben and Toni Kroos in his way. It is a bit puzzling.
So why would Götze move? He is idolized at Dortmund, has grown up playing for the academy and has turned into a German international after shining at the Westfalenstadion. Well, the 20-year-old was born an hour West of Munich in Memmingen, but I highly doubt proximity to family swayed his decision. Quite simply, he wants to win European titles. But one could argue he has just as good a chance of Champions League success with Dortmund, as he does with Munich.
However, with Munich in imperial form during the domestic campaign and Guardiola set to be in charge for the foreseeable future, Götze probably feels he may develop further under the man who helped nurture Lionel Messi’s talent. That seems like as good a reason as any.