When Bild broke the news of Mario Gotze's impending summer transfer to Bayern Munich one evening in late April, fans, experts and Borussia Dortmund was wondering whether it was the first day of the month.
In the majority of transfers, all three parties are made aware of any agreements in the deal. But that was not the case when Gotze, once dubbed "the talent of the century" by Matthias Sammer, made the switch across Germany's Klassiker divide.
The seeds of his controversial move were sown in March 2012 when he signed a contract binding him to Jurgen Klopp's side until 2016. "Everyone knows how comfortable I feel here," he said at the time. "The club are far from finished with their recent resurgence. And I want to be a part of it."
The words seemed somewhat less convincing when details emerged of a 37 million euro release clause in his contract. Amid the hustle and bustle of Dortmund's subsequent double win and Gotze's ongoing injury problems, the story was swept under the carpet. But Bayern had taken note.
Fast forward to December that year and Bayern was well on the way to securing domestic dominance. But it seemed the then 20-year-old had no intention of leaving. "We are not thinking of a move in 2013," his agent Volker Struth said.
At the time Bayern was working on securing new coach Pep Guardiola, whose arrival at the club was to be confirmed in January. He had a one-name wish list, Neymar of Santos, but the Bavarians' senior management disagreed due to their past problems with "young Brazilians". So they settled on the next-best choice - Gotze.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bayern Munich
- Mario Gotze
- Borussia Dortmund