Assessing Which Serie A Club Mario Gotze Should Join This Summer

Mario Goetze
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga | TF-Images/Getty Images

On 13 July 2014, Mario Gotze wrote himself into German football history by scoring the winning goal in a World Cup final, helping his nation to achieve their fourth international success in the process.

Fast-forward four years, and the hero in Brazil didn’t even make the cut for the 2018 edition. Fast-forward another two years, and the scorer of a winning goal in a World Cup final is soon to be without a club.

Mario GoetzeMario Goetze
Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final | Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Illness and injury have halted the Borussia Dortmund star’s progress in those six years, so much so that now at the age of only 28, he is facing the prospect of being a free agent in the summer.

Gotze’s time with Der BVB has come to an end, and determined to start his career afresh in pastures new, the midfielder is looking for the right home to recapture the heights he reached in 2014. A pacy, tricky, and skilled dribbler, with some clinical shooting to boot, the German star would be a welcome addition to most squads in Europe.

And it seems that he is destined to make a move to Serie A, with a host of Italian sides all fluttering their eyelashes at the talented German. But which club should he choose? 90min takes a look at Gotze’s options for the coming season.

Maurizio SarriMaurizio Sarri
Hellas Verona v Juventus – Serie A | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Let’s get this one out of the way, shall we? If you’re looking for regular game time, Juventus just isn’t the place for you. I Bianconeri have become a ruthless machine over the years, destroying everything and everyone in their wake.

And they do not have time for stragglers. Gotze needs a home where he can flourish at his own pace, and get back up to speed in the right conditions with a suitable style of play to aid him. With the current options at Maurizio Sarri’s disposal, the Dortmund man simply won’t get a look-in, and he’d be lost within months of arriving at J-Medical.

Not the one.

Rafael LeaoRafael Leao
AC Milan v Hellas Verona – Serie A | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

A club in decline, Milan will be looking to rebuild their failing squad once again this summer, after another miserable mid-table campaign. And one thing I Rossoneri are sorely missing is goals. The Serie A giants have managed to notch only 28 strikes in 26 matches this campaign, and that lacklustre tally stems from a complete lack of creativity in the midfield.

Gotze may be a missing link in that midfield, and his service and intelligent play could unlock the goalscoring potential of starlet Rafael Leao and the other misfiring Milan strikers. But make no mistake, I Rossoneri remain a club in chaos, and if you’re looking for a stable and loving home with a nurturing environment, you may wish to look elsewhere.

In another lifetime, this could have been a perfect match. Sadly, it’s a case of right place, wrong time for Gotze and Milan.

FBL-ITA-CUP-INTER-FIORENTINAFBL-ITA-CUP-INTER-FIORENTINA
FBL-ITA-CUP-INTER-FIORENTINA | MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

So what about their immediate rivals? Inter will have to offload plenty of stars before reinforcing their midfield, with the likes of Radja Nainggolan, Ivan Perisic, Matias Vecino and Borja Valero all expected to leave this summer.

But even if they do trim their bloated squad, will that leave space for Gotze? Well, probably not, is the answer. I Nerazzurri are blessed with some real riches in the centre of the park, as Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Christian Eriksen complete one of the fiercest midfield trios in Serie A.

And while Antonio Conte is at the helm, wingers are far from a priority – and Gotze wouldn’t make much of a wing-back. So, either he plays second fiddle and misses out on the first-team action he desires, or potentially plays off Romelu Lukaku in a little and large combo up top.

That’s not too bad an idea, actually…

Alejandro Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Marten De RoonAlejandro Gomez, Josip Ilicic, Marten De Roon
Atalanta BC v Parma Calcio – Serie A | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Could there be a more exciting team to join in Europe right now? Gian Piero Gasperini has built the most outrageously entertaining and explosive team in Serie A, and the entire football world is waking up to the fact that Atalanta are a force to be reckoned with.

And their peculiar system centres around their attacking trident of Josip Ilicic, Alejandro Gomez and Duvan Zapata. All three players perform particular roles in the forward line, but Gomez and Gotze do share similar traits when going forward.

The Argentine enjoys the freedom of the left flank, but he can cut in and cause mayhem centrally whenever he wishes. This liberal outlook, coupled with hard-working players who are instructed to feed the forwards whenever possible, would suit Gotze down to the ground.

Gomez shows very few signs of slowing down, but at 32 years old, his time at the top table may be coming to an end. The heir to the throne, perhaps?

UEFA Europa League"KAA Gent v AS Roma"UEFA Europa League"KAA Gent v AS Roma"
UEFA Europa League”KAA Gent v AS Roma” | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Now this just feels right. Roma underwent a complete revolution in the summer, hiring attack-minded coach Paulo Fonseca, and building a fast-paced style of play around possession and champagne football.

It hasn’t quite been the overriding success that I Giallorossi hoped for, but there are signs that, with the right players in place, Fonseca can build a team worthy of challenging near the top once again. And Gotze could become a crucial cog in this machine.

Arsenal star Henrikh Mkhitaryan has shone (when fit) at Roma this season, playing in the attacking midfield role behind focal point Edin Dzeko. With the Armenian unlikely to extend his loan spell beyond this campaign, Gotze could slot nicely into that role and thrive in an offensive and daring side.

Fonseca also loves having flexible players within his squad, and the German star could easily fill in on either flank when required too. And to top it off, Roma is famed in Italy for picking up more injuries than any other team, so should fitness issues befall Gotze once more, he’ll have plenty of company in the medical centre.

A match made in heaven.

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Inter Make Alexandre Lacazette Priority Target to Replace Barcelona Bound Lautaro Martinez

Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC – UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Inter have made Alexandre Lacazette their top target in the likely event of Lautaro Martinez departing the club for Barcelona.

Martinez has struck up a prolific strike partnership with Romelu Lukaku this season. The pair have notched a combined 29 goals in Serie A and the Argentine’s impressive form has caught the attention of a number of top European clubs, most notably Barcelona – who are favourites to seal a big-money move this summer.

While Inter remain in talks to extend the 22-year-old’s stay at San Siro, a source told 90min last month that Barça were confident of getting their man and had already turned their attentions to selling players in order to finance the deal.

The process of finding his successor is already well underway and according to Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal star Lacazette is their ‘first option’.

The Frenchman is not overly enamoured by the prospect of moving to Italy but with the Gunners needing to sell to fund any incoming transfers this summer, the club may try to move the deal along. They are clearly open to the forward departing, having previously included him as makeweight in their attempts to bring Thomas Lemar to the club in January.

Alexandre Lacazette in action against West Ham.Alexandre Lacazette in action against West Ham.
Alexandre Lacazette in action against West Ham. | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

This season, Lacazette’s has endured his least impressive spell of form at the Emirates Stadium since arriving in north London back in 2017. He has managed just nine goals and contributed three assists in 26 appearances.

Inter had previously been monitoring Edinson Cavani, though a deal seems unlikely to be agreed due to the Uruguayan’s reluctance to take a pay cut of his whopping £170,000-per-week wages.

In fact, the possibility of Cavani’s and another target Timo Werner signing was explicitly ruled out by the club’s sporting director Piero Ausilio last month – in news that boosts Liverpool’s chances of signing the German hotshot.

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Sandro Tonali: Deciding Whether Italy’s Precocious Young Talent Should Join Juventus or Inter

Sandro Tonali
Parma Calcio v Brescia Calcio – Serie A | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Ever since his flowing jet black locks burst onto the scene in 2017 as a 17-year-old, it was pretty clear Sandro Tonali was a little special.

And amid a season of dysfunction and disappointment for Brescia in their return to Serie A, Tonali, now 20 and fresh off a campaign which saw him crowned Serie B’s Player of the Year, has continued to stick out like a sore thumb.

He’s a player who’s always been on the radar of FIFA Career Mode and Football Manager boffs, persistently drawing lazy comparisons to Azzurri great Andrea Pirlo as a result of his aforementioned locks and the fact he plays in a similar position on the pitch.

Daniele De Rossi, Andrea PirloDaniele De Rossi, Andrea Pirlo
Sandro Tonali has often drawn comparisons to Andrea Pirlo in the past, despite his play style resembling that of Daniele De Rossi’s | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

But in truth, there’s greater resemblance to the all-action but equally graceful Daniele De Rossi in Tonali’s game, while the Brescia midfielder has also spoken previously of his adoration for Gennaro Gattuso.

And now, with Brescia destined for the drop as Serie A prepares for its return next month, it seems inevitable that Tonali will be making the imminent step up to Italy’s elite. It’s a move the 20-year-old’s been destined for ever since he made his professional debut.

So, with Juventus and Inter set to battle it out for Tonali’s signature at the end of the season, let’s take a look at where the Italian’s next destination should be…

Miralem PjanicMiralem Pjanic
Miralem Pjanic’s consistent ineffectiveness as Maurizio Sarri’s regista saw him ousted from the starting XI before the break | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

With Miralem Pjanic continuously proving himself to be completely ineffective as the midfield screener, Aaron Ramsey struggling for fitness (shock) and Adrien Rabiot appearing to be afraid of this concept called ‘penetrating a defensive line’, midfield incompetence was a real issue for much of Maurizio Sarri’s debut campaign.

Tonali, a player adept in both number eight and six roles, looked like he’d slot in seamlessly into Sarri’s midfield.

But with Blaise Matuidi providing tenacity and balance in a more functional role, Ramsey returning to full fitness and the athletic Rodrigo Bentancur excelling at the base of midfield, the Bianconeri boss had finally found his ideal midfield formula before COVID-19 went global.

Although Tonali would be an upgrade over Matuidi, his place in Sarri’s starting XI certainly wouldn’t be automatic if he was to make the move to Turin, and the same goes for Inter.

Edin Dzeko, Sandro TonaliEdin Dzeko, Sandro Tonali
Sandro Tonali has often been deployed as a regista in a 4-3-1-2 this term | Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

While the potent ‘Lula’ partnership has been the talk of Antonio Conte’s maiden season at San Siro, the emergence of a diminutive pair of Italians in midfield was a key part of the Nerazzurri’s early success this term.

The dynamic duo of Stefano Sensi and Nicolo Barella have the potential to be Conte’s number eight pairing for the long-haul, with their struggles for fitness either side of the winter break a major factor in Inter’s 2020 slump.

And with the criminally underrated Marcelo Brozovic persistently shining as the screener of the backline, immediate opportunities appear slim for Tonali at the Nerazzurri. A rotational role seems more likely, especially with the likes of Christian Eriksen and Matias Vecino already vying for starting berths as well.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ATALANTAFBL-ITA-SERIEA-JUVENTUS-ATALANTA
Juventus waltzed to their eighth Scudetto on the spin last time out | MARCO BERTORELLO/Getty Images

Well, considering this is is the weakest Juventus side of the decade and they’re still a point clear at Serie A’s summit, hanging on in the Champions League and in a good position to make another Coppa Italia final, it’s hard to count the Old Lady out when it comes to silverware.

And with Matthijs de Ligt, Bentancur and Paulo Dybala making up their core for the future, the Bianconeri are in a healthy position to continue their monopolisation of Italian football for the foreseeable future.

The project at Inter, however, is an exciting one and with an elite coach at the helm, the Nerazzurri are probably two or three players away from transforming into a superpower once more.

So, although I’d give Juve the edge here, it’s also worth noting that Sarri has collected just one major honour in a 30-year coaching career- while ‘The Godfather’ has enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in management thus far.

Maurizio Sarri, Antonio ConteMaurizio Sarri, Antonio Conte
Sarri (L) and Conte (R) both took charge of their respective clubs in the summer | Fred Lee/Getty Images

Both Juve and Inter under their respective new managers this term have opted for a three-man midfield; with Maurizio Sarri often favouring a 4-3-1-2 or 4-3-3 with a deep-lying regista and two box-to-box ‘eights’, while Antonio Conte’s dynamic in midfield is somewhat similar in his tried and trusty 3-5-2.

Where the two slightly differ, however, is with their philosophies.

In possession, Sarri-ball is all about quick, vertical combinations to progress play, while Conte’s Inter, unsurprisingly, take a more direct approach with the aim of feeding Romelu Lukaku as fast as possible. While they’re also able to build-up with a little more patience, there’s nevertheless a clear emphasis on transitions.

And with his impressive vision and passing range, Tonali is probably more suited to Conte’s counters than Sarri’s combinations. The fact Brescia are a side who often surrender possession means the press-resistant Tonali isn’t exactly the high-volume passer Sarri desires from his number six. The 20-year-old, meanwhile, has been key in kick-starting his side’s attacking transitions with not only drilled long-range passes, but determined ball-carries as well, similar to Brozovic.

Marcelo BrozovicMarcelo Brozovic
Marcelo Brozovic is Inter’s linchpin; with his intensity, ball-winning capabilities and verticality in possession so key to Conte’s system at San Siro | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

From a defensive perspective, I don’t have any concerns either way.

Tonali is an incredibly astute defender who reads the game to a high standard and is rarely caught out of position. Whether he’s given the task of remaining disciplined in a compact block or fiercely pressing an opponent higher up the pitch, the Italian has the capacity to master either role in any side.

Brescia are reportedly still demanding €50m for Tonali's services having recently rejected a €40m bid from InterBrescia are reportedly still demanding €50m for Tonali's services having recently rejected a €40m bid from Inter
Brescia are reportedly still demanding €50m for Tonali’s services having recently rejected a €40m bid from Inter | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It’s incredibly close between the two and overall, either giant would be a good fit in the long-term.

As it stands, it appears the only obvious opening for Tonali to make an immediate impact at either side is in a number eight role at Juventus. But despite his versatility and creative nous, his future lies as a number six.

Therefore, with Sarri gushing over 22-year-old Bentancur at the base of midfield, Inter may well be a smarter move.

Sure, minutes will be hard to come by initially – with the Nerazzurri boasting one of the finest defensive midfielders in Europe with Brozovic – but there’s certainly scope for the talented Tonali to play a rotational role to start, before evolving into the long-term regista under the Croat’s guidance in what proves to be a mightily exciting era with Conte at the helm.

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Edinson Cavani Refusing to Take a Pay Cut Upon Departure From PSG

Paris Saint-Germain v Girondins Bordeaux - Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain v Girondins Bordeaux – Ligue 1 | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Newcastle United and Inter target Edinson Cavani will not be taking a pay cut if he is to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer.

The Uruguayan international reportedly wants maintain his whopping £170,000-per-week wages should he leave Parc des Princes, with his contract due to expire at the end of the month.

Arturo Calabresi, Edinson CavaniArturo Calabresi, Edinson Cavani
Amiens SC v Paris Saint Germain – French League 1 | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

According to Le 10 Sport, Cavani – the club’s record goalscorer – is heading for the exit door in the French capital following the permanent signing of Mauro Icardi on Sunday

Cavani addressed his future in an interview with PSG’s official magazine via Goal and explained: “My career will last for maybe several years still, here or elsewhere, I don’t know, I’ve spoken about it a lot with my entourage. I’ve always said that I would like to quit football rather than football quitting me.”

Newcastle and Inter are both said to be chasing the striker with the Italian club making the first move. However, Inter are apparently struggling to finance the Uruguayan striker as he refuses to take a pay cut from his substantial wages at PSG.

Foot Mercato have previously reported that Newcastle have been chasing Cavani’s signature, but news of his pay-cut refusal will be certain to test the resolve of the north-east club’s prospective new owners.

Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier HSC - Ligue 1Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier HSC - Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain v Montpellier HSC – Ligue 1 | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Cavani has spent the last seven years in Paris after joining from Napoli and could be on his way back to Serie A if the Milan club can fund his demands. Cavani has been one of the best strikers in Europe for some time now, but at 33 years of age, his re-sale value would be very little.

Newcastle have struggled for goals this season though, with Steve Bruce highlighting that bringing in a proven goalscorer is one of his main priorities. The Magpies will have to weigh up the financial pros and cons of the huge wage that Cavani would demand.

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Building Inter’s Perfect Serie A Side

Javier Zanetti - Inter
Javier Zanetti – Inter | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

With Antonio Conte at the helm and a resourceful backing off the pitch from big investors, the future is looking bright for Inter supporters.

The Nerazzurri had slumped during the mid-2010s following the departure of Jose Mourinho, but some astute business in the transfer market has seen the San Siro side emerge as title challengers again.

A club steeped in history, Inter and their fans have seen some incredible talents grace the Giuseppe Meazza, and here we’ve put together their ultimate player, from brains to brawn. Go figure.

Esteban Cambiasso - InterEsteban Cambiasso - Inter
Esteban Cambiasso – Inter | Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

There weren’t many more distinctive sights in football than seeing Cambiasso’s shiny head glisten under the lights of the Giuseppe Meazza.

The Argentine midfielder arrived at Inter after a short and uneventful spell with Real Madrid and adapted beautifully to Serie A, becoming an integral part of the Nerazzurri first-team.

A true student of the game, Cambiasso remodelled his style of play to suit his new role at Inter. With supreme footballing IQ, he was able to contribute both to defensive and attacking phases from central midfield.

Marco Materazzi - InterMarco Materazzi - Inter
Marco Materazzi – Inter | CHRISTOPHE SIMON/Getty Images

The sort of player you absolutely hate playing against but one you’d love to have on your team, Materazzi took on the role of hard man and defensive rock.

When he wasn’t chirping away in an opponent’s ears, Materazzi was providing the defensive grit and steely determination needed to succeed at the highest level.

He was also a commanding figure in the air, shown during the 2006/07 season when he scored ten Serie A goals from central defence. Obviously, the majority of those where headers from set pieces. Scored in a World Cup final, too.

Wesley Sneijder - InterWesley Sneijder - Inter
Wesley Sneijder – Inter | Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Truly one of world football’s unsung heroes, Sneijder was offloaded to Inter from Real Madrid back in 2009. The Dutchman settled quickly and became a vital piece of Mourinho’s treble winning outfit.

Sneijder was able to dictate the tempo of games from midfield, using his excellent vision and passing range, while his ball control and dribbling skills allowed him to steer clear of opponents and open up defences.

With a keen eye for goal, Sneijder often found himself on the scoring sheet in big games. His performances for Inter and Holland in 2010 left many outraged at his overlooking for that year’s Ballon d’Or prize.

Javier Zanetti - InterJavier Zanetti - Inter
Javier Zanetti – Inter | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Mr. Inter himself, Zanetti arrived from Banfield in 1995 and went on to spend 19 illustrious seasons with the Nerazzurri.

Zanetti was versatile, playing in both defensive midfield and at full back, but it was his work ethic that shone through. No matter where he was playing, he gave his all.

The engine on Zanetti was spectacular, so spectacular that it served him at the highest level right up to the ripe old age of 40. He’s probably still charging around some five-a-side pitch in Milan on Wednesday nights – with social distancing measures in place, of course.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - InterZlatan Ibrahimovic - Inter
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Inter | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

When it comes to strength and physique, one of the first players who springs to mind has to be Ibrahimovic. The towering Swede quickly jumped ship from Juventus after their relegation in 2006, joining Inter.

Ibrahimovic’s stint at the club helped establish him as a top level striker, as tallied well into double-digit goals in his three Scudetti winning seasons with the Nerazzurri.

Zlatan’s ability to utilise his athletic 6’4 frame, coupled with natural goalscoring instinct, makes him virtually unplayable at times. Dominant in the air and untouchable when holding the ball up, Ibrahimovic strikes fear into defenders, and rightfully so. The guy’s got a black belt in taekwondo.

Obafemi Martins - InterObafemi Martins - Inter
Obafemi Martins – Inter | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Martins rose to fame early on in his career while at Inter. The young Nigerian forward showed great promise with his goalscoring ability, but it was his blistering speed that was most eye-catching.

Martins was insanely athletic, often displayed by his big back-flips in his goal celebrations.

Back in his Inter days, he could apparently run 100 metres in 10.6 seconds – an astonishing feat. Pro Evolution Soccer fans will definitely remember reaping the benefits of playing as Inter with this man up front.

Ronaldo - InterRonaldo - Inter
Ronaldo – Inter | Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Arguably the greatest striker to have ever graced the game, Ronaldo arrived at Inter off the back of an astounding season for Barcelona in La Liga. Il Fenomeno hit the ground running at Inter, winning the Ballon d’Or in his first season with the club.

Known for his powerful dribbling ability, often rounding the keeper or bursting the net with a vicious strike, Ronaldo could do it all. Inter began to build their team around their new talisman as the Nerazzurri looked for their first Scudetto since 1989.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, however. Ronaldo suffered recurring knee injuries that saw him frequently sidelined toward the end of his stint in Milan. Ronaldo made 98 appearances for Inter, scoring 59 goals before moving to Real Madrid in 2002.

Alvaro Recoba - InterAlvaro Recoba - Inter
Alvaro Recoba – Inter | New Press/Getty Images

Recoba was relatively unknown upon his arrival at Inter from Nacional in 1997. They may not have known it at the time, but Nerazzurri fans soon discovered they had a special talent on their hands.

The Uruguayan marked his debut with a stunning brace against Brescia, scoring a 30-yard rocket and a masterful free-kick from even further out. The man just simply could not score a normal goal. Possessing one of the sweetest left foots we have seen in Serie A, El Chino’s debut set the tone for the rest of his Inter career.

Inter fans were regularly treated to Recoba’s moments of sheer brilliance. Just have a look at his highlight reel, you certainly will not be disappointed.

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