It’s no surprise when the transfer rumour mill goes into overdrive during a relatively quiet summer, and we all know that Arsenal are never far away from being linked with all manner of weird and wonderful signings as they battle among the Premier League contenders.
The latest link is with Mario Gotze, who has apparently fallen out with Bayern boss Pep Guardiola after his agent slammed the club for their ‘poor treatment’ of the German international.
Arsene is obviously a big fan of the lad – the club was heavily linked with his signing prior to his eventual move to Bayern in the summer of 2013 – and so it’s no surprise to see the Gunners once again rumoured to be looking at one of world football’s most promising youngsters.
The projected £49 million price tag has raised a few eyebrows though, and perhaps the most pertinent question is does the club really need him?
Big Game Player
One thing that Gotze does bring to the table is an undoubted pedigree on the biggest stages of them all: not bad for a 23-year-old whippersnapper.
He’s already played in a World Cup final – and scored the winner no less – and would have played in a Champions League final for Borussia Dortmund back in 2013 too if he wasn’t injured. He was an integral part in their semi-final win over Real Madrid, however.
The German attacker is a four-time Bundesliga winner, a UEFA Super Cup champ and even won the Man of the Match award for his performance in that 2014 World Cup final.
Gotze was, for a spell at least, also the most expensive German footballer of all time, with his €37 million move to Bayern from Dortmund only eclipsed by that of our very own Mesut Ozil.
So for such a young player, Gotze has bags of big stage experience: and that could help to elevate the performances of his potential Arsenal teammates to whole new levels.
Gotze has the versatility to fulfil a number of roles, but it is perhaps in the old fashioned ‘number 10’ or playmaker slot that he flourishes the most. That could see him dovetail nicely with Alexis and Ozil, whilst allowing Cazorla and Ramsey to dictate play from deep.
His standout season so far was 2012-13, where he was used religiously by JurgenKlopp at Dortmund in a central role, whilst Germany boss Joachim Low even saw fit to play him as a ‘False 9’. This is an interesting option for the Gunners, especially in tough Champions League away games, as Gotze can drop into midfield to help out defensively. He would also provide a more mobile counter-attacking threat than Olivier Giroud.
Unfortunately, the undoubtedly talented Gotze hasn’t really kicked on for Bayern and announced himself as one of the world’s best players since signing for them two years ago.
He made only 28 Bundesliga starts during the last campaign, notching nine goals but only two assists. He was deployed largely as an attacking outlet on the left flank by Guardiola as well, which is not a natural for him. Notably, Gotze was left on the bench for the club’s biggest matches of the season, such as the Champions League semi-final drubbing by Barcelona.
According to Squawka, Gotze only contributed an average of 1.3 key passes per game in 2014/15. When compared with his potential Arsenal contemporaries – Ramsey (1.6), Cazorla (2), Alexis (2.1) and Ozil (3) – we have to question whether he is a sensible investment that adds genuine value.
While there is no doubting Gotze’s potential, and his playing style would complement those around him, his proposed fee in the region of £49 million looks a hefty price to pay; particularly when there are other positions on the pitch – centre half and a world-class tough tackling midfielder to name but two – that need addressing more promptly.