Mario Götze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, the club announced on Saturday. He's been linked with an array of clubs but at 27, the World Cup winner’s career is at a crossroads.
Mario Götze's career has had quite a few ups and downs: a teenage sensation at Jürgen Klopp's Dortmund, the disappointment of missing a Champions League final through injury, a big-money move to Bayern Munich, the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final, his departure from Bayern Munich, and then a metabolic disorder which threatened his entire career.
Nearly four years on from his return to Dortmund, player and club have agreed to part ways at the end of the current campaign, according to sporting director Michael Zorc.
"We'll end our working relationship with Mario at the end of the season," Zorc said. "It is a joint decision after a transparent conversation. Mario is a really good guy."
Götze was one of Lucien Favre's key players last season when they made a tilt for the title, and at 27, there is reason to believe he still has a lot to offer. Here's a look at the clubs who have been linked with the German playmaker, who will be available on a free from the start of July.
Hertha Berlin would appear to offer Götze an ideal home: a club on the up with money to spend, a stong likelihood of a starting place in team and a city that is appealing to live in. Götze could do a lot worse and would be joining a club who, thanks to the significant investment from the Windhorst Group, have ambitions to sign more players of Götze's ilk. If rumours are to be believed, Julian Draxler is another potential Hertha target while Bruno Labaddia has enjoyed a strong start to his time in the capital. A relocation to the Olympic Stadium would have the potential to kickstart Götze's career.
Götze has been linked with a move to Liverpool, where his old friend Jürgen Klopp is working wonders.
Götze had the option to join Liverpool in 2016 but he opted for a return to Dortmund. You have to wonder whether that decision has kept him awake at night. There is talk that Klopp would still welcome his compatriot to Anfield, but a lot has changed in the intervening years, not least Liverpool becoming the most formidable club team in Europe, which begs several questions: do Liverpool really need him? Would Götze's fitness and injury concerns make him a bad fit for the physical intensity Klopp demands from his players? And can Götze offer enough to be more than just a substitute at Anfield? There are more questions than answers on this one.
Chance of happening: 40%
Many fading stars have found a home in Los Angeles, and the Galaxy have expressed an interest in Götze.
A move to Major League Soccer might really liberate the German international. On the pitch, an injury-plaged Götze could benefit from the slower pace and lower intensity of the game in the US, with LA Galaxy having proved a fine home for many European stars in the past decade or so. Off the field, Götze's profile would make him one of the biggest players in MLS and offer him and his wife, Anne-Kathrin Brömmel, an attractive place to live.
Another Bundesliga option for Götze, should the move to Hertha fail to materialize, is a switch to Cologne. Having all but secured their top flight status this term, the Billy Goats would be reportedly willing to offer Götze a two-year deal starting on July 1. And given his wife's willingness to move to nearby Cologne and rumors linking Lukas Podolski to an Effzeh swansong, it could be a goer for Götze.
Chance of happening: 30%