Rummenigge suggested that the 27-year-old may benefit from taking a step outside the spotlight, and join a club ‘like West Ham or Everton’. We were intrigued to say the least.
Would he recapture the form from his first spell at Dortmund, or would his career continue to be plagued by injury?
We booted up Football Manager 2020 to find out!
The results were mixed to say the least.
Under the stewardship of David Moyes, Gotze made 24 appearances across all competitions for the Hammers. He started the season promisingly, scoring twice in a 2-0 win away to Wolves at the beginning of September.
But injuries once again wreaked havoc, as Gotze progression was halted by successive setbacks.
The first came against Bournemouth on October 5 where a sprained knee ligament injury would keep Gotze sidelined for five weeks. The German had scored his side’s second goal in a game they would end up winning 2-1, but he was forced off just before the hour mark.
The second serious injury occurred during his recovery, when he sustained a rib fracture during training which ruled him out for a further four weeks.
On his return to the side he was forced off after 29 minutes with a hand injury against Watford, and missed the following match against Brighton.
He would appear in the next four matches unscathed, but in the fifth against Newcastle Gotze picked up a foot injury that would rule him out for a further fortnight.
He returned to the bench but was an unused substitute in each of West Ham’s next two matches as the Hammers recorded surprise victories away at Arsenal and at home to Liverpool.
Gotze remained on the bench until a substitute appearance in a goalless draw at Leicester in the middle of March.
Gotze grabbed his fourth and final goal of the season in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford on the final day of the season, as West Ham finished in 13th place.
Despite missing large chunks of the season, Gotze was one of West Ham’s best performer, averaging the 11th-highest rating across the season: 6.83.
So Gotze’s ‘first season’ at West Ham followed an all-too familiar narrative: flickers of talent, snubbed out by injury.
Whether West Ham would tolerate a return of four goals and one assist for the £165,000-a-week contract is another matter…
So all in all, Gotze to West Ham is a nice fantasy, but probably not worth the risk.