The Germany international has been the subject of much transfer speculation. But media reports suggest Mario Götze will go back to Borussia Dortmund following three years at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
Götze and Dortmund could be set to reunite as the attacking midfielder ponders whether to leave German champions Bayern. The 24-year-old's development has stalled in recent years, and a return to his former stomping ground could turn his career around.
According to "Sport Bild", he is poised to complete a return to Signal Iduna Park, with the yellow-and-blacks paying between 23 and 27 million euros for his signature. Götze left the club in 2013 for 37 million euros ($41 million), but he has spent much of his time in Munich on the bench.
The changes at Bayern in the close season had given Götze fresh hope of resurrecting his career there this term. He featured in 14 league games last season under the departed Pep Guardiola. New coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he had held private discussions with the player and said he would treat Götze like a member of the squad even as transfer speculation swirled.
Contracted to Bayern until the end of this season, the options available to Götze are limited. Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool did not pursue their interest in the player, while it appears Tottenham Hotspur have yet to make a formal offer. Although Bayern were happy to keep him, this could be the club's last opportunity to get a return on what has been a failed investment.
Dortmund fans divided
Suggestions of a potential return to Dortmund have split the club's supporters. Some accept the player's move to Munich three years ago as part of the realities of European football, while others feel the club would be plumbing new depths by allowing him to return on his own accord.
When Götze returned to play against Dortmund for the first time after his departure, he was unable to warm-up outside due to concerns for his safety. Emotions in Dortmund are still raw given the latest series of stars who have decided to leave Dortmund for the riches of Bayern or the English Premier League.
Dortmund have made around 100 million euros from the sales of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Manchester United and Ilkay Gündogan to Manchester City, while Mats Hummels has gone to Bayern, the club where he started his career.
A big-money signing maybe doesn't fit with the ethos of the club, but some fans are demanding it.
Can Götze kick on at Dortmund?
The situation is delicate for Götze at this stage in his career. A once glittering reputation has been tarnished. At the European Championship in France, Götze was unable to take advantage of starting opportunities as many in Germany debated the attacker's future and what position would suit him best.
Pundits feel he should have kicked on in his development having scored the World Cup-winning goal in 2014 but it never really happened.
The encouraging thing for the 24-year-old is that Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel is arguably the best in the country at developing talent. Mkhitaryan's fortunes at Dortmund were turned around by Tuchel, who developed a positive relationship with the Armenian.
There are similarities with Götze, who is clearly lacking in confidence. Working with Klopp in his previous stint at Dortmund gave him a mentor who knew how to get the best out of his talents.
In that spell, which concluded with a Champions League final defeat to Bayern in 2013, Götze spoke about his dreams of playing for Barcelona or Real Madrid.
He is a long way off that, but Dortmund appears best suited to get his career back on track.
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