This afternoon an interesting rumor came about that Arsenal had made an inquiry to Borussia Dortmund about 19 year old sensation Mario Götze. While I'm skeptical of the amount reportedly being asked by Dortmund, the fact that he's even rumored to be available at all is enough to get my head spinning. Anyone who follows my twitter feed has probably seen me raving about this kid for a good portion of the summer, so I think it's fair to say I'm a bit of a fan. Given the straight choice between Luka Modric and Mario Götze regardless of age or cost, I'd take Götze without even a seconds hesitation. Many of you probably haven't seen too much of him yet, so Graham and I decided it would be a perfect time to take a little deeper look.
Gotze just turned 19 this past June, and he plays his club football for defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund. He was called up to make his German senior national team debut last November, becoming the youngest ever player to do so when the country was not divided into East and West Germany. Since then he's gone on to establish himself as a regular starter and has certainly made the transition from the Michael Ballack era to the post-Ballack era much easier on German fans. German technical director Matthias Sammer has referred to him as "one of the best talents that we've ever had".
Mario can play any number of positions on the pitch. He's not particularly strong as a holder, but he can quite easily play any other midfield role. He's also very adept on either wing. I've watched him fairly extensively, and I have a hard time trying to determine what his best role actually is. He's just that good everywhere he plays. I guess if I actually had to classify him, I'd call him an attacking midfielder. Lately it seems he's been playing on the right wing though, and he's been doing it very well. He's good enough and versatile enough that I'd probably compare him positionally to Andres Iniesta among currently active players.
Physically, Gotze is not overly impressive. He stands a respectable 5'9" tall and is built solidly enough. He's fast, but certainly not in the class of Aaron Lennon or Ahmed Musa. His speed is probably much more similar to that of our own Juan Mata. He's strong enough to win his fair share of challenges, and holds his own in the air for a guy his height. He's also got fairly incredible balance and acceleration, something that goes exceptionally well with his technical gifts.
The technical side of things is where Gotze sets himself apart from most others. He's got incredible vision, seeing passing lanes opening up before most defenders and making uncanny runs into space. He's also very adept at making the most of those lanes, as his passing is first class. He's pretty strong with the ball at his feet, and his finishing is generally fairly solid as well. He's already probably better at delivering set pieces and corners into the box than anyone on our squad (not that that's saying a lot), and he's been making solid progress with his crossing as well.
Defensively Gotze is a little less refined. He's certainly a willing worker, tracking back is always something you see him doing at full speed. His tackling leaves some to be desired, and sometimes he's very hesitent to fully commit to a challenge. Still, the total package at the age of 19 is amazingly polished. It's easy to see why so many people are shocked that he's rumored to only cost €35 million.
I've got four videos for you to take a look at today. All four are tracking every touch Gotze makes throughout his games, so they aren't the run of the mill youtube highlights. I couldn't give you the full experience though, as none of the four have David Hasslehoff music in the background (it's still close quality wise). Forgetting the musical flaws though, the first video features Dortmund in their season opener against the Arnesen fed Hamburger SV:
I think that should give you a look at where he's at today, as that was just three weeks ago. The second video I have is another club game against Bayern Munich:
The third video is also from last season, against Hannover 96:
The final one is from a recent German friendly against Brazil in which Gotze was the star again...nothing like showing up fellow 19 year old Neymar to up your profile. It's also worth noting that Robeto Di Matteo was in the stands for this one:
After watching even little clips of him, I don't think it's really too hard to see what all the fuss is about with this kid. He's just an unbelievably gifted player for someone his age, and his work ethic is supposedly second to none. It's really easy to see why twitter pretty much turned on it's head when his rumored price tag got out. He's clearly got the ability to become one of the truly elite players in the world, and now that he's going to get a chance to play Champions League football I'd guess his stock goes through the roof.
As I've stated a few times, I have some serious reservations about whether or not Castles information is even remotely accurate, but the fact that it might be is certainly worth Emenalo placing a phone call or two (or tying up the line so nobody else can call). Worst case scenario is that we make our interest known before Dortmund do eventually try to move him, as he'll likely end up in Spain or England at some point down the road. Best case scenario is that we end up with one of the best and most versatile talents on the planet at a price that nobody will bat an eyelash at. As I mentioned earlier, I'm a huge fan of Gotze and I think his signing would be an incredible move. I'd be interested to hear everyone else's opinion of him though...feel free to discuss as you will below.