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Arsenal target Mario Götze signs contract extension with Borussia Dortmund

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2013, if ever. Just keep repeating that.
2013, if ever. Just keep repeating that.

Intermittent Arsenal transfer target and current Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Götze has signed a new contract with the club that extends through the 2015-2016 season, according to reports on Twitter then confirmed by the team's official website. Since springing onto the world stage as a key part of BVB's Bundesliga title run last season, Götze has been widely linked with moves to several teams in Germany and abroad, including Arsenal.

This deal will obviously affect any move Götze might eventually make, but it's not really going to change anything in the short-term. Dortmund have said even before the German international was extended that he would not leave until summer of 2013 at the earliest, and the two years added onto the end of his current deal will only increase the flexibility that the team have in dealing with his future. In short, this extension will allow the player and the club both to get what's best for them in the long term while reducing short term concerns.

What this contract mainly does is give Dortmund leverage. His original contract ran until 2014, and as mentioned above, 2013 is roughly when Götze will be willing or ready to leave (one would presume that's also when the team would be "ready" to sell). That means that when Götze was to actually go on the market, he'd be in the last year of his deal, and Dortmund would be in a similar position to the one Arsenal found themselves with Samir Nasri last summer - a player in the last year of his deal who wanted to leave. That's an awful bargaining position.

By all accounts, Mario Götze legitimately cares about Borussia Dortmund, and, while he seems to want to go to a bigger club eventually, doesn't see Dortmund merely as a stepping-stone to bigger things. In the team statement Götze is quoted as saying that "everyone knows how comfortable [he feels]" there, and that he "want[s] to be part of the development" of the squad. It's not out of the realm of possibility then that Götze agreed to this deal with no plans to see it through; rather, he just wanted to give the club more leverage when they do eventually sell him, probably in the evidently-predetermined 2013 summer window.

The upshot of this for Arsenal is that little changes. He was always going to be expensive, even at such time as Götze was actually ready to leave. It's just that with that extra leverage, "expensive" changes from (for example) £20 million to £50 million. Would Arsenal be able to afford him, either way? It's tough to tell. Nobody really knows how much money the team has to spend, though it's assumed to be a substantial amount, and if, God forbid, Robin van Persie is sold this summer, there would likely be a ton more. Also, if the club's transfer policy really is changing, as the ongoing Lukas Podolski situation appears to indicate, perhaps that money would actually be used. I have to say, though, that Arsenal buying Mario Götze was unlikely before, and only slightly more unlikely now. But he will likely still go somewhere in 2013, whether it's Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Anzhi Makhachkala, or Manchester City.

But he will do so as a young star under a long-term deal with (unless things change) no publicly preferred destination. And that's very good news for Borussia Dortmund.