Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Analysis: Which Team Is The Best Fit For Leon Goretzka Next Season?

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Leon Goretzka is one of the biggest names that will be available in the upcoming transfer window.

It is unclear whether Schalke 04 want to sell him during January, but that seems to be the most likely scenario. Considering the playmaker said he is not keen to extend his current deal with the Gelsenkirchen side, Schalke have two alternatives. They can either sell him in January at a discount price, or wait until the end of the season – but they would lose him for free if they do that.

There is no shortage of suitors for the Germany international, who dazzled with Die Mannschaft during the 2017 Confederations Cup earlier this year. Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, PSG, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all been mentioned as alternatives for the 22-year-old. But which of those teams sounds like the best fit for Goretzka? Even though he can line up practically everywhere in midfield, he thrives in a more central position. So with that in mind, we will analyse which team seems to be the best scenario for the impending free agent.

Manchester City

The Citizens are the main favourites to acquire the Schalke 04 star, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he joins the team either during January or next summer. Pep Guardiola loves him, and he feels Goretzka would represent quite an improvement over Fernandinho on the defensive midfielder role. Fernandinho is already one of the best DMs in the world, but Goretzka would represent a more technical presence to link defence and attack properly.

Another point that could play in City’s favour is the money. The Premier League side has A LOT of money to spend, and they are not shy to use their resources if the situation calls for it. Considering the stout competition they are likely to face for Goretzka, they could easily blow everyone away with an offer the player simply can’t reject.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to play for Guardiola? Based on the strength of the team and the tactical fit, City could be the best option for the 22-year-old playmaker.

FC Barcelona

FC Barcelona have been one of the most active teams in the pursuit of Goretzka, and are reportedly considered two of the favourites to secure the services of the German playmaker. He seems to be a player made for Barca’s playing style, but would also add several traits the team is currently lacking.

Goretzka shines due to his vision and passing ability. His playing style would allow him to fit nicely at the Camp Nou outfit. But he is also a strong, tall, and physical player. In a way, he would combine Sergio Busquets’ physical traits with Ivan Rakitic’s passing ability. A player like that could be the difference maker Barca needs to contend for the Champions League crown once again.

Manchester United

The Red Devils have emerged as an interesting alternative on the Goretzka sweepstakes. They have enough money to offer Goretzka a competitive salary, are a contending team, and could definitively use his services. Manchester United could use a bit more depth on their central midfielder.

Michael Carrick might retire, and Marouane Fellaini could join Besiktas during the January transfer window. If we exclude both players from the squad, then United would only have Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba as alternatives in central midfield. Goretzka would fit perfectly, and could form an intriguing partnership with Matic at CM. Making a serious push for him is something United officials should at least entertain.

Bayern Munich

The reigning Bundesliga champions can not be left out of the list. In fact, they were considered favourites to land Goretzka until a few weeks ago. The player himself denied the existence of a pre-agreement with Die Roten. And it seems the talks between Bayern and Schalke have cooled off of late.

Plus, do Bayern have a regular starting spot for Goretzka? It seems they do not. The current squad has a lot of depth for the central midfield role. They have defensive-minded players such as Javi Martinez and Sebastian Rudy. They also have box-to-box midfielders such as Arturo Vidal and Corentin Tolisso. And Thiago Alcantara can drop a few meters and act as a deep-lying playmaker if needed. Sure, Goretzka would make the team much better. But they have enough depth right now. And Goretzka might want to leave the Bundesliga in order to test his luck elsewhere.


Arsenal are a bit behind Manchester United and Manchester City when it comes to their chances of acquiring Goretzka, and rightfully so. The Gunners have been linked with a potential departure of their two best players in Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, which should speak volumes of the team’s lack of ambition on the transfer market. It seems they do not want to take the next step to become a powerhouse in Europe.

Furthermore, Arsenal do not even play in the UEFA Champions League this season, and nothing suggests they will even qualify for next year’s edition. Goretzka would likely want to move to a team with decent title ambitions, and Arsenal do not meet those requirements right now.

Real Madrid

Los Merengues are another potential destination for the German playmaker. However, it is hard to imagine a fit considering the team’s current squad.

First of all, Real Madrid do not really need reinforcements in midfield. They have Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as the starting trio. Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Llorente have seen playing time as well. And if that wasn’t enough, Dani Ceballos and Isco are more than decent alternatives for a more attacking-minded midfielder. That gives a total of seven central midfielders. That’s too much. Especially when the trio of Casemiro, Kroos and Modric won’t go anywhere for the foreseeable future.

Goretzka would be a great addition. But they don’t really need him, and should focus on improving other areas of the squad.


PSG can buy any player in the world, as they have unlimited resources to spend. But they have the same problem as Real Madrid. Do they really need someone like Leon Goretzka? Marco Verratti, Adrien Rabiot are the starters right now. Meanwhile, Javier Pastore and Thiago Motta tend to come off the bench. And Julian Draxler has been playing at CM as well.

Adding Goretzka would create an unnecessary logjam in midfield. And considering PSG’s problems with the Financial Fair Play rules, it’s hard to imagine them making a push for a player that is likely to be expensive.

Final Verdict

Based on his playing style, Goretzka seems to be a perfect player for the Premier League. He has the pace, the skill, and the strength to thrive on English soil. Now it remains to be seen if The Citizens end up winning the bidding war for his services. There will be a lot of competition for his services. And either Manchester United or Arsenal could surprisingly sign him as well.

Whatever his destination is, Goretzka is ready to take the next step on his career. And he is talented enough to start in almost any team in the world.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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