Borussia Dortmund general manager Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Saturday that he is relaxed about any interest shown by Bayern Munich in teenage star Mario Gotze, who is also known to have been watched by both Manchester United and Arsenal.
Indeed, German football publication Kicker claimed Arsenal bid the astronomical sum of 40m Euros – approximately £35m – shortly before the summer window closed, while he was mentioned as an alternate target to Inter Milan star Wesley Sneijder for Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 19-year-old Gotze came off the bench to score Germany’s final goal in their 6-2 rout of Austria on Friday in a Euro 2012 qualifer as the hosts confirmed their place at next year’s finals in Poland and Ukraine.
Germany coach Joachim Loew has now said he expects to include Gotze in the starting line-up for Tuesday’s friendly against Poland in Gdansk.
Gotze is under contract until June 2014 and despite Dortmund having already insisted they will not sell their midfield star to a Bundesliga rival, Bayern president Uli Hoeness has said they are interested in signing him.
That may make an Arsenal or Manchester United deal more likely, but it would come at an extremely hefty price.
Bayern Munich have a reputation for snapping up the best talent available in Germany and in the last few seasons have paid out millions of euros to sign the likes of striker Mario Gomez and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
However Watzke insists reigning Bundesliga champions Dortmund are not concerned.
“We remain completely at ease. Those are just little games, as we’ve seen for probably 15 years,” the Dortmund boss told German daily Bild in response to Hoeness’ comments.
“Every club would like a player like Mario Gotze in their ranks, even Bayern.
“But not every prediction Hoeness has ever made has come to fruition in the end.”
While Gotze has said he will never play for Bayern, Hoeness said it is only a matter of time before they talk.
“Many have claimed they will never go to Bayern,” said the Bayern boss.
“I’m not worried, if he keeps playing so well and we have a very attractive team, then we will eventually get into a conversation (with him).
“It would be a fine thing to have such a good player at Bayern.”
There may now be a bidding war for Gotze in January or next summer, with Arsenal still needing a long term replacement for Cesc Fabregas – having only signed veterans Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun – and Manchester United likely to evaluate Tom Cleverley’s progress before entering the market.