Mario Gomez is on his way back to the Bundesliga after three years in Italy and Turkey. The German international is joining Wolfsburg as the Wolves try to compensate for key player departures.
Wolfsburg announced in a statement that they had acquired Gomez from Italian club Fiorentina. The German international will train with his new teammates, including want-away star Julian Draxler, for the first time on Thursday.
"We looked at the possiblity of signing Mario Gomez during the winter, so we are all the happier that it has now worked out," commercial manager Klaus Allofs said. "Mario is a striker of international class, who, aside from his playing qualities, also brings an immense amount of experience to our team."
Gomez, 31, spent last season on loan at Istanbul club Besiktas, but said after the failed coup attempt that he was not keen on remaining in Turkey. Istanbul was a focal point for the foiled putsch. The striker led the Turkish Super League with 26 goals, a surprise showing that helped catapult him back into Joachim Löw's Germany plans in time for Euro 2016.
"Mario is the best German striker in my opinion," said Wolfsburg's coach Dieter Hecking. "His success and goal tally speaks for itself. In addition, he possesses leadership qualities and has a clear vision, which is congruent with our own. He suits our team and our club perfectly."
Coming home to Germany
Gomez picks up perhaps his favorite shirt number, 33, with the Wolves - the same one that he wore with Stuttgart and later Bayern Munich.
"I am really looking forward to this new challenge," Gomez said. "The talks held with Klaus Allofs and Dieter Hecking were very good. I am delighted to be returning to the Bundesliga. I want to return to the international stage along with VfL and I firmly we will achieve that."
Wolfsburg narrowly missed out on European football last season, and watched attacking players Andre Schürrle and Max Kruse depart during the off-season. Draxler has also made no secret of his desire to move to a bigger club in a different division.
Gomez's Fiorentina contract was set to expire at the end of the coming season, when he could have moved on a free transfer. Wolfsburg were reportedly set to spend in the region of 7 million euros ($7.9 million) to bring in another option up front besides Bas Dost.