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International Soccer
By Chris Ravita, Soccer Editor - Archive - Email
Gotze's Bayern move raises plenty of questions
It is fair to question whether Bayern truly needs the 20-year-old Mario Gotze.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With just over 24 hours until the club's monumental Champions League semifinal encounter with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund was rocked by the news that Mario Gotze will not be wearing the bright yellow kit that he has donned for over a decade.

Gotze, who joined Dortmund's youth academy as an 8-year-old, has established himself as one of Europe hottest properties. He has become a vital cog in Jurgen Klopp's well-oiled machine that won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

Playing as well as he has since making his first-team debut in 2009, Gotze was a virtual certainty to make the big-money move to a European club of greater stature at some point in his early career.

Unfortunately for Dortmund fans, that day has come sooner rather than later, and it was precipitated by the club's title rival in Bayern Munich.

The Bavarians, fresh off retaining the Bundesliga title following its two-year vacation at Signal Iduna Park, wasted no time in aiding incumbent manager Pep Guardiola with squad reinforcements, announcing that Gotze will be an official Bayern Munich player on July 1.

But what makes the transaction so head-scratching are the abundance of questions left on the receipt of sale.

For one: Why now?

The timing of Gotze's move is less than ideal for his current club. Dortmund is on the eve of its biggest encounter in recent memory, and knowing that its key player has his mind already focused on next season is fairly disconcerting.

Bayern did say in a statement released on the club's website that it wanted to wait until after Dortmund's semifinal before making Dortmund privy to the move, a statement that has left the world footballing community to wonder who is behind the transfer.

If Bayern felt the need to clue Dortmund into the transfer, then the Borussians could not have known a great deal about the goings-on behind closed doors. So who was pulling the strings?

According to Dortmund's official Facebook page, Gotze's agent orchestrated the move by saying the youngster wished to activate the release clause in contract, which is reported to be in the region of $50 million.

While that is the amount needed to pry Gotze from Dortmund, it is fair to question whether Bayern, a club that does not have a dire need for another attacking entity, truly needs the 20-year-old.

Bayern already enlists some of the top talents in world football, a balanced stable of players of all ages and positions.

The Bavarians receive tremendous wing play from Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri, clinical finishing from Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro, superb passing passages from Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez as well as some fine hybrid play from the well-rounded Thomas Muller.

Is Gotze's move part of Pep's master plan, or did he even have any say in the acquisition? Regardless, the manner in which Guardiola constructs the team will keep everyone guessing until August when the new season commences. Until then, the summer transfer window will provide us with a better idea.

With Gotze's impending arrival, do any Bayern attackers need to look elsewhere for regular playing time? And if so, who's heading for the exit?

Switching gears, it will be quite intriguing to see what Dortmund does with all of the money. The club has made a habit of unearthing gems in the transfer market at minimal cost, but it also may look to reinvest that money in the valuable youth system that helped produce dividends yielded by Gotze's sale.

While Dortmund finds itself in familiar territory, Gotze embarks on a new journey to the Allianz Arena. He has known just one club since 2001 and it has helped him enjoy a meteoric rise to prominence. With new surroundings, we are left to wonder if he will trend upward at the same pace of some his contemporaries in Kroos and Schweinsteiger.

That is just one of the many questions his transfer to Bayern evokes, and another one that will come to be answered in time.

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