Bayern Munich were practically stampeded to complete the transfer of Germany international Leon Goretzka from Schalke after receiving information that Spanish giants Barcelona were ready to pounce, chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed.
Goretzka will leave Schalke at the end of this season to join the Bundesliga champions on a four-year deal after both clubs confirmed the transfer.
Coach Jupp Heynckes and Rummenigge both hailed the deal as a positive for the Bundesliga as it kept one of Germany’s premier talents in the country’s top flight and Rummenigge has now claimed Barcelona were in the running for 22-year-old.
“If we had not signed Leon, he would have very likely signed for Barcelona,” he said in an interview with Bayern-Magazin. “In general, that cannot be [good] on behalf of German football.
“Leon is enormously talented, he is only 22 years old, a German international with great potential in his position. We would have been really wrong if we had not tried to sign him.”
Goretzka drew criticism and boos from fans, with banners unveiled in protest over the transfer, when he turned out for Schalke in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at home to Hannover.