Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed that their latest signing Leon Goretzka would probably have moved to Barcelona had he not agreed to a deal with the Bundesliga leaders. The 22-year-old Germany midfielder has signed a contract with Bayern from 1 July, ending his long-term association with Schalke.
Schalke had done everything in their power to convince the midfielder, including offering him a massive contract worth €12m a year (£10.6m, $14.4m) but, were unable to change his mind as the German Champions came calling. The midfielder had entered his final six months in contract with the Bundesliga club and has decided to join Bayern where he hopes to grow as a player.
"If we had not committed Leon, he would most likely have changed to FC Barcelona, " Rummenigge said, as quoted by the Mirror. "Which, quite fundamentally, cannot be in the interests of German football."
Rummenigge had earlier revealed that Manchester United were interested in the midfielder while a host of other clubs were interested securing him on a free transfer. Liverpool were also reported to be interested in the midfielder but were unable to convince the midfielder to switch countries.
Goretzka joined Schalke from Bochum in 2013 and has gone on to win 12 caps for the national team, including winning the Confederations Cup with Germany in 2017. He has scored 14 goals in 101 Bundesliga appearances for the club and has since developed into one of the most high-rated young players in Europe.
His decision to make the switch has been backed by his future teammate Niklas Sule, who made his way from Hoffenheim. The defender expects Goretzka to become a "leading player" at Bayern in the years to come. The Schalke midfielder tallied five goals and three assists last season and has followed that up with four league goals already in the current campaign.
"Leon has been a very good friend of mine for years," Sule told Goaland Omnisport, as quoted by Goal. "I am so happy that he comes to us."
"Due to his quality, he can become a leading player here," Sule added. "He is someone who is going ahead. This has already been seen in the U16 national team. When he on the pitch, he was ahead of the rest. Leon is a very good transfer for Bayern and I am firmly convinced that he will prevail."