Bursting onto the scene in the 2010/2011 season, Mario Gotze quickly established himself as a first team regular in Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund team. Despite making his Bundesliga debut against Mainz in November of the previous season, the then 18-year-old showed maturity, good technical qualities and ability which prompted Klopp to include him as central to his future plans. The BVB product was immediately labeled as ‘one of the best talents Germany has ever had’ by Matthias Sammer, the German Football Association technical director at the time.
Gotze quickly became the hottest and most sought after talent in Europe as he was awarded with the 2011 Golden Boy award. The former BVB poster-boy spent three hugely successful seasons at the Signal Iduna Park lifting the Bundesliga twice, the German Cup and playing a significant role in their run to the 2013 Champions League final where he missed out due to a hamstring injury. The Dortmund product made a controversial move to fierce rivals Bayern Munich as the marqee signing for new manager Pep Guardiola. However after three seasons at the Allianz Arena under one of the best managers in the game, the 23-year-old looks a shadow of himself as it seems he hasn’t made any progress.
There are those who believe that his move to the Bavarians were destined for failure due to the manner in which the transfer was done. He was the central figure in Dortmund’s project to become a force in Europe but he opted to join the greatest enemy. Loved and adored by the Yellow Wall, the playmaker became a villain with threats made to himself and his family. The BVB fans made their feelings known publicly burning his shirt and marking ‘X’ on shirts with his name and number on them. At 21 years old he may have been scarred mentally by all the contention surrounding this decision over his future and career. Even though he has Bavarian roots, his heart was with the Gelsenkirchen club that had given him everything up to that point in his life.
With his future and career in the balance, it is perhaps the right time for the World Cup winner to start a new adventure in an effort to get his development back on track. With just one year remaining on his contract, Gotze will not cost as much as his ability warrants and can be a potential bargain for any of Europe’s elites. At his best he enjoys running at defenders with his excellent dribbling skills, eye for a pass, great link-up play, imagination and has some pace about him. His qualities and ability are in high demand especially in England but he could stay in Germany or sign for a club in Spain or Italy. In recent times, questions have been raised over his attitude but is he worth the risk for any of the top clubs around Europe?
Leaving Dortmund for the Bavarians was definitely a step to another level and one can say that he has failed miserably to impress at the Allianz Arena. Gotze has not commanded a place in the first eleven despite all his amazing qualities. He was the centre of attention with the BVB but found it difficult to become the central figure in a much more talented surrounding at Bayern. His time under Guardiola has been hampered by injury problems and an argument can be made that his deployment as a false number nine may have prevented him from showing his true ability. At the Signal Iduna Park and for the German National team he showed that he is at his best as a wide player or as the central playmaker in the number ten position.
Despite failing to play regularly this season, the 23-year-old is expected to be named in Germany’s Euro 2016 squad. However, he has a massive decision to make on his future as he could move overseas or return to his home at the Signal Iduna Park. A return to Dortmund has worked wonders for Marco Reus and perhaps Thomas Tuchel could take him to another level much like that of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. A return to Dortmund for Gotze could see Reus, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan stay at the club to form an exciting attack along with Shinji Kagawa that would surely strike fear in everyone across Europe.
There is also the option of moving overseas with a strong link to Liverpool where he would join forces with former boss Jurgen Klopp. While Klopp knows him very well and could reignite the fire inside the 5ft 8in playmaker, a move into the unknown may not be the best option as he is looking to get his career moving in the right direction. He already knows the Bundesliga and his way around Dortmund and he will be guaranteed lots of playing time as well. A move overseas may require time to settle and adapt which may not be the best option due to where he is at in this present moment of his career.