Bastian Schweingsteiger believes Mario Gotze’s move to PSV Eindhoven is a “pity”, telling Kicker the reported West Ham United target is still capable of playing at a far higher level.
The Eredivisie might have its fair share of detractors but, perhaps this season more than any other, there are more than a few reasons for the casual observer to take a keen interest.
But while Arjen Robben’s emotional homecoming at Groningen has begun sluggishly, with yet more muscle injuries dulling the romance, Gotze has exploded on to the scene at PSV.
It took the 2014 World Cup winner just nine minutes to open his account for Roger Schmidt’s side in their 3-0 thumping of PEC Zwolle on Sunday.
A lack of fitness and form might have taken a sledgehammer to Gotze’s once glittering reputation but Schweinsteiger feels that, at the age of just 28, the former Bayern Munich and Dortmund star has taken a backwards step far too early in his career.
“It is a pity he has taken a few steps back now that he is in his best years,” says a man who conquered the world alongside Gotze six years ago.
“(But) a football player wants and has to play. I hope it will work out well for him.”
In August, the Express reported West Ham were interested in signing Gotze on a free transfer.
And, while one of the Premier League’s perennial underperformers would have still represented something of a downgrade for a man who once led the line for Pep Guardiola’s Munich machine, the Eredivisie can’t hold a candle to the competitiveness and quality on offer in England’s top flight.
Then again, if Gotze can regain his confidence and status at PSV, who’s to stay he won’t have the pick of clubs again in 12 months’ time?
West Ham’s record transfers