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Tuesday Kickoff: Bayern secure Götze transfer; Ferguson applauds Van Persie; and more

Mario Gotze of Borussia Dortmund

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Pep Guardiola’s going to have quite the midfield next season at Bayern Munich.

Monday evening, German publication Bild reported that the German giants had activated the release clause in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze’s contract, paving the way for a move this summer to Munich. The 20-year-old star will join the likes of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, and Xherdan Shaqiri in a packed attacking midfield.

On Tuesday morning, both clubs confirmed the deal, with reports putting the price paid by Bayern for the transfer at €37 million ($48 million). The timing of the deal has been controversial, coming just ahead of Dortmund’s Champions League semi-final match against Real Madrid.

Götze has been a revelation in German soccer since exploding on to the scene in the 2009/2010 season, helping Dortmund win back-to-back Bundesliga titles. This season the German international has scored 19 goals for club and country in 47 matches.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:

FERGUSON LAUDS VAN PERSIE IMPACT

In the match that clinched the club’s 13th Premier League title, Robin Van Persie proved why he is the reason that Manchester United are on top this season, scoring a first-half hat-trick on the way to their 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

Following the match, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson raved over the 29-year-old forward, rating him higher than notable Red Devils like Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo, and even Wayne Rooney in the past over a single-season span.

“He has made a fantastic contribution,” Ferguson told BBC Sport. “In terms of impact he has had as big an impact as anyone I can imagine.”

Since moving to Manchester United from Arsenal last August, Van Persie has scored 28 goals in all competitions. It’s the first Premier League title for the Netherlands international.

BAYERN PRESIDENT UNDER INVESTIGATION

At the same time that news of Mario Götze’s transfer to Bayern Munich was spreading around the world, so too was the news that the club’s president was under investigation from Germany’s tax authorities.

According to reports from Germany, Uli Hoeness self-reported himself in January, alerting the German government to a private Swiss bank account that the former West Germany international owned. The story has become gone from just the sports forum to the political forum in Germany as well, as Hoeness is close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her political party.

In the past, Hoeness had been looked upon as a positive moral authority, once telling German publication Bild that he had paid all his taxes “in full.”

QUICK KICKS

Luka Modric has been included in Real Madrid’s squad of 23 that traveled to Dortmund yesterday, despite suffering an injury during the team’s last match against Real Betis. (REPORT)

Chelsea are investigating their own fans after Yossi Benayoun tweeted about receiving abuse from the Chelsea support on Sunday in Anfield. (REPORT)

Arsenal have sent in an appeal to the Premier League over the 90th minute red card given to Olivier Giroud in Saturday’s match against Fulham. (REPORT)

Liverpool have announced that they will hold a testimonial match for Steven Gerrard on August 3 against Olympiacos at Anfield, with all proceeds going towards charity. (REPORT)

Alexandra Wrage, an anti-corruption expert, has quit her role with FIFA after frustration at inactivity and a lack of reform from Sepp Blatter and the organization. (REPORT)

——-

What do you make of these reports? Do you see Götze starting for Bayern next season? What do you think of Ferguson’s comments on Van Persie? Do you see Hoeness resigning?

Share your thoughts below.

61 comments
  • Eurosnob

    I looked at the linked article and don’t see where Ferguson says that he rates Van Persie higher than Christiano Ronaldo.

    Like

  • ChiTown

    Come on Bayern, tell us more about how the Bundesliga is becoming a duopoloy and that you want more competition while simultaneously and unnecessarily (greedily) buying up the best players from every team.

    And Uli Hoeness is a lying, narcissistic crook. Makes me sad knowing the inevitability that Pep Guardiola will also be fired within a season or two and be slandered up and down the press by this garbage.

    Like

    • Juest

      Generally, both parties to a transaction believe it is beneficial to them. Was it “greedy” of Dortmund to sell him for so much money? And how come a couple of clubs motivated by “greed” are now among the best–and most entertaining–soccer teams in the world?

      Like

      • biff

        Dortmund had no choice. Gotze had a 37-million-euro release clause.

        Like

      • Juest

        So Gotze compelled Dortmund to put a release clause in his contract? Sounds like a mutually beneficial agreement to me…..

        Woe is Dortmund, try to have a soccer team and all these greedy villains throw mountains of cash on them. How tragic! How unfair!!

        Like

      • ChiTown

        Pretty much all players have a release clause, it’s not uncommon. They’re set so high that nobody will dare make a run at them.

        This transfer is the 32nd highest transfer fee in football history and the highest for a german–ever.

        Like

    • GW

      Everyone has their price. Dortmund set theirs very high and Bayern met it.

      How does this make Bayern greedy?

      Hoeness being a scumbag is old news as is the fact that Bayern are overall an unpleasant bunch. But as far as I can tell they are operating inside the rules.

      Like

  • biff

    Gotta admit, absolutely devastated by the Gotze-to-Bayern news. I would have never expected the kid to sink so low, especially after his good buddy Marco Reus snubbed Bayern’s overtures and instead chose to move to Dortmund.

    The big mystery now is who leaked the news on the eve of the big Champions League semi-final games to the Bild newspaper, which broke the story using anonymous sources. Bayern is pleading innocence, and Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is saying, at least publicly, that he believes them. Could be that the culprit is someone in Spain is hoping to unsettle the German teamst. Maybe even someone who no doubt had first-hand knowledge of the deal.

    Like

    • ChiTown

      You love a good conspiracy.

      The news was leaked because the deal is already done. Goetze signed a deal for 31.5m pounds. Bayern confirmed the deal has already been signed.

      Goetze is a Bayern Munich player already. Point your finger at Bayern trying to cause problems for Dortmund and Goetze throwing Dortmund under the bus. Big time.

      Like

      • ChiTown

        What do you mean, huh? The deal had to be announced. You don’t think people would wonder when Goetze just didn’t suit up for Dortmund against Madrid?

        Like

      • ChiTown

        He can’t move because the transfer window is closed. It opens July 1st.

        But, he can’t play for Dortmund anymore, including in tomorrow’s UCL match.

        They sabotaged Dortmund.

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      • Jerrod

        He’ll absolutely play out the rest of the champions league.

        Like

      • ChiTown

        I’ve read reports (reuters) that the fee has already been paid. If that’s the case then he can’t play.

        If not, then he can play. But if that’s the case then yeah, I wouldn’t put him anywhere near that field. He will be booed mercilessly.

        Like

      • wides

        It doesn’t matter if the fee has been paid, the transfer window doesn’t open until the end of the season. He is still owned by Dortmund until the summer.

        You can’t just buy a player during the season to prevent him from playing for his current club. That’s what transfer windows are for.

        Like

      • biff

        @ChiTown: First of all, the dust has not yet settled on this story, which is front page news in Germany. What I am saying about the timing of the announcement is that most German commentators are in agreement that it was timed to cause major disruption to Dortmund (while some think it also could be a destabilizing influence on Bayern later today).

        Jurgen Klopp said in a press conference today that he was informed April 11, the day after the win over Malaga, that Gotze was going to go to Bayern. Both sides agreed to keep it quiet until after the CL semifinals. But then the story was leaked to the Bild Zeitung and only after that news story was published online late yesterday in Germany did Dortmund issue a statement today followed by a statement from Bayern. There was speculation in the press that Bayern did it intentionally to damage Dortmund before tomorrow’s game against Madrid, but, as I said, Klopp says he does not believe Bayern is the culprit.

        Like

      • ChiTown

        Well, Klopp wouldn’t openly say if he thought they were anyways.

        Then we’re in agreement, Bayern did it to cause havok and distract from the tax fraud scandal of Hoeness.

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      • biff

        My first feeling was the same, that Bayern, which is very good at PR, leaked the Gotze news to torpedo Dortmund and to take the focus off Hoenness. But Klopp today made a fairly convincing argument that the news also has the potential to destabilize Bayern against Barcelona and that he did not think Bayern would stoop so low. Think about it, a tremendous young player going to Bayern personally requested by Pep Guardiola. That will no doubt have some Bayern players worried about their role with the team.

        And then I got to thinking, if the Gotze news really could destabilize Bayern against Barcelona, what one person has the most to gain if Barcelona is able to score a couple of away goals today against Bayern and knocks them out of the tournament? And that same person, it could be argued has the most to lose if Bayern wins the Champions League (and the Bundesliga and the Pokal Cup = Treble).

        Like

      • kelso

        As long as we’re just going to wildly speculate, I’ll say that Ozil was in the loop somehow and leaked the info to destabilize Dortmund prior to THEIR semifinal matchup.

        Like

      • biff

        ha-ha. U R a real rocket scientist, Kelso. Why don’t you be a pal and interpret the whole thing for the rest of us.

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      • kelso

        no seriously, I liked yours the best (about guardiola).

        However, I disagree that this is anything but par for the course with young superstar soccer players. Also, the nonsense about him not being able to play bc a fee has already been paid.

        You didn’t post all of those thoughts, just sayin’.

        Like

  • ChiTown

    This guy is done in Germany outside of pockets of Munich. He is already being–rightfully–branded as a traitor and a mercenary.

    Abandoning your team days before the biggest match of your career to sign with your clubs top rival who is also in the competition you’re in. That is scumbag steve of epic proportions. Unforgivable.

    Like

    • GW

      ChiTown,

      “He is already being–rightfully–branded as a traitor and a mercenary.”

      That is a little dramatic. He is no such thing.

      Football is a business and Gotze is an asset, a very valuable asset. Wait until you see what Dortmund get for Lewandoski. 10% is typical for the player’s cut. So Gotze’s cut is 4.8 million dollar, 3.7 million euros . It sure beats 30 pieces of silver.

      It’s worth noting that B Dortmund is the only publicly traded club in the BL. And that until Klopp signed on in 2008 they were doing poorly. They needed to borrow 2 million from biggest rival Bayern in 2003 to make payroll. Then they nearly went bankrupt in 2005.

      Who knew.

      Since Klopp came they have done better. In 2012 their revenue was about 189.1 million euros. Which means that Gotze’s sale, 37 million euros , if reports are really true, would amount to nearly 20% of that year’s revenue.

      Don’t think for a minute they have forgotten how close they were recently to oblivion.
      If everyone was in agreement and it seems everyone was, then you get a big deal like that done ASAP. You hear all the time about deals like this falling thru at the last minute, so I can’t fault anyone for nailing down a deal as big as this as soon as possible.

      I think you forget, Chi Town, that Gotze is a perishable asset one that can go from 48 million dollars to zero with one bad tackle.

      The criticism here should be reserved for whoever leaked this.

      Like

  • Matt DCU

    Very bad timing for Dortmund. Hopefully the fans don’t turn on Gotze during the semifinals

    Like

    • ChiTown

      Go check out his Facebook page–he’s being ripped to pieces.

      From reports out of Reuters–the other players didn’t even know it was coming and Klopp said jokingly that he could have made it a little bit worse by doing it 4 hours before kickoff.

      He’s destroyed his reputation.

      Like

    • CHR

      There is no chance they won’t.
      He will be booed every time he touches the ball. Probably for the rest of his career.

      Like

      • biff

        This is true, CHR. It most likely will be tomorrow in Dortmund if Gotze takes the field. Nobody expected this and the fans feel deeply betrayed and are totally pi**ed at Gotze. The club has already issued statements asking fans to be kind to Gotze, but ain’t no way, Jose. It might be wise for Klopp simply to leave him off the roster. Plus, I would imagine some of Gotze’s teammates about right now think that he is a total duckhead.

        Like

      • biff

        …It most likely will be *ugly* tomorrow in Dortmund if Gotze takes the field…

        Like

      • ChiTown

        I know you love your German news, so I imagine you’ve read all the quotes by teammates essentially saying they had no idea this was coming.

        Like

  • ChiTown

    Seriously, this is scum of the ultimate and highest proportions and should result in major sanctions against Bayern Munich.

    Activating the release clause on your rivals star player the day before their big match should result in forfeiture of their spot in the Champions League and a ban for several years.

    This trumps anything I’ve ever seen in World Football.

    Like

    • ChiTown

      And if some early reports are true, Bayern actually spoke with Goetze before forcing his release clause, which is a huge no-no.

      In a perfect world they would be banned from European football. Alas, this is UEFA and Bayern’s a cash cow.

      Like

      • John

        A typical contract requires the player to agree with joining the club in order to use the buy-out clause. The current club normally demands to be a part of the discussions. So it’s required and within the rules for Bayern to have talks with both Dortmund and Goetze in order to use the buy-out clause.

        I suspect that last week’s comments from Klopp regarding the monopoly statement relate directly to this deal going down. There was likely an agreement within the clubs to keep it quiet, but obviously that wasn’t honored. I’m guessing that Hoeness might have leaked the information in order to distract from the news regarding his tax situation.

        Like

      • ChiTown

        Oh I guarantee he leaked for that distraction.

        But, Dortmunds CEO released this, “As of the current moment, no official representative of Bayern Munich has been in contact with Borussia Dortmund regarding the matter.”

        Like

      • John

        ” “We’re obviously disappointed beyond measure, but would emphasise that both Mario and his agent have acted strictly within the terms of the contract,” said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.”

        – Also a part of the Dortmund press release. Although this is ethically very poor from Bayern, it appears to be legally acceptable.

        Like

      • ChiTown

        I think it’s important to note that Hans only said that Mario and his agent have acted within the terms of the contract.

        He made no mention of Bayern acting within the rules–even going so far as to say that they’ve had no contact with them.

        Like

  • Lost in Space

    I’m a little surprised….23 comments posted and no-one has mentioned the linked article to the anti-corruption expert quiting her role….or the comments she made regarding the reasoning.
    Have we become so jaded and resigned to the fact that FIFA is providing lip service when they express their desire to “Improve transparency and promote propriety” within FIFA?
    Recommendations that won’t be taken forward to the Congress (meeting in May) include:
    1) Disclosure of senior executive pay
    2) Adding independent board members and independent integrity checks for new members to FIFA’s decision-making executive committee.
    3) Fixed age and term limits

    Like

    • Nate Dollars

      “Have we become so jaded and resigned to the fact that FIFA is providing lip service when they express their desire to “Improve transparency and promote propriety” within FIFA?”

      yes.

      Like

    • Travis in Miami

      Modern society is suffering from corruption fatigue in general – not just in sport.

      Like

      • John

        Corruption is as old as the first deal/agreement ever made. It is not a product of modern society, it’s a part of human civilization.

        Like

      • Travis in Miami

        True, but from time to time throughout human civilization people get fed up and act. At the moment there seems to be a lot of fatigue from John Q Public. Until this changes nothing changes – other than an increase in corruption.

        Like

      • John

        Fair enough. We might see that impact showing itself in the attendance in Italy, which is directly impacting the ability of Serie A clubs ability to compete.

        Like

      • David JS

        John: +10000000. People seem to love this “modern society” ruse and it’s just silly.

        Like

  • Reboot

    With Lewandowski and Gotze headed to Bayern, is it safe to say Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben are on their way out?

    Like

    • biff

      My thoughts, also. Although most say that the first casualty will be Tony Kroos, I think Robben will be gone, with his Madrid background and desire to be a club starter to improve his Dutch national team standing before WC 2014.

      I don’t think Lewandoski will end up Bayern this summer, Dortmund owns him until 2014 and I think would be willing to let him suffer next year and let him go free rather than sell him to Enemy Number One. Plus, I think Lewi personally would prefer England.

      Like

      • Bilbo Baggins

        Toni Kroos gone because he lacks pace? He is one of my favorite young Germans… where will he end up then? Surely not another German side…

        As for Lewandowski I agree, He would do well as a target forward in England.

        Will Pep introduce the False 9 at Bayern and throw Gotze into the “Messi” role with Muller and Ribery on the flanks?

        Like

  • Mike V.

    FC Hollywood gets richer. The dirty does the dirty on Dortmund. Bayern knew his release clause and they leaped at the opportunity. It does reak of douchebagness but all is fair if they met the clause. I hate that Gotze is going to Bayern. Hate it. But Dortmund has a knack for finding and developing players so I’m pretty confident they will use that money wisely.

    Like

  • Josh

    I was a click away from ordering a Gotze Dortmund jersey the other day. Now I have no idea what to think. Favorite player on favorite team, just gone. It’s like baseball all over again trying to be a KC Royals fan…

    Like

    • biff

      What Gotze has done is unforgivable. He had a contract with Dortmund for 5m euros a year until 2016 so his financial future was secure even if injured so no reason to rush it and he could have waited until after the season to do the deal.

      Like

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