Bayern Munich have reacted angrily to recent reports concerning Premier League transfer target Mario Gotze, insisting that they are "complete fiction" and hinting at possible legal action. The 24-year-old's future at the Allianz Arena has been subject to doubt for many months now, after he made just 14 appearances for the reigning Bundesliga champions during Pep Guardiola's final year in charge.
New manager Carlo Ancelotti has remained coy on a potential exit, although Gotze has reiterated his commitment to the club despite a lack of regular playing time since his £32m ($45.3) switch from rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2013. Bayern appear eager to get him off the wage bill, however, with speculation from Germany over the weekend even suggesting that they could omit him from their squad for next season's Champions League campaign if he chooses to stay.
Such claims have been emphatically rubbished by Bayern. In an official statement released via their official website, they said: "FC Bayern Munchen has demanded that various media sources cease and desist from reporting false claims. It has been reported that FC Bayern has "threatened" Mario Gotze by stating he would not be nominated to play in the Champions League if he remains at the club."
Those ardent denials have been echoed by chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who added: "This is complete fiction. It remains the case that we will resolutely defend ourselves against all false or even malicious reporting using all legal means available to us."
Gotze, who sealed his country's fourth World Cup triumph with a dramatic extra-time winner against Argentina in Rio two summers ago, is currently on duty with Germany at Euro 2016. He flattered to deceive in a false nine role during Die Mannschaft's 2-0 opening Group C victory over Ukraine on Sunday (12 June). He was replaced by goalscorer Bastian Schweinsteiger in the 90th minute at Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy and could be subject to a positional switch tonight as Joachim Low's side face Poland in Paris.
Despite his focus on the European Championships, the rumour mill has not stopped whirling of late as to the possible identity of Gotze's next club. A reunion with charismatic former Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool has long been mooted, while The Sun have claimed that Arsenal are keen to launch a £27m bid for his services after seemingly missing out on a deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.