It looks a lot like Ilkay Gundogan will be heading to City this year following the secret mafia meeting held in the Netherlands earlier this week between Pep Guardiola, Txiki Begiristain and some other hangers on.
The Dortmund midfielder is brilliant and the possibility of having him at City excites me.
Gundogan really is brilliant. Our friends at the Yellow Wall Podcast just dived straight in and said “world class”. No qualifications, no ambiguity, just world class. There may have been a tear in Stefan’s eye at the time.
The truth is, Gundogan has been on the way out of Dortmund for a while now, signing successive one year contracts because he had little choice but to stay each time due to injuries and so on. If he had stayed completely injury free then he would have been at one of Europe’s richest cartel clubs a long time ago.
His injury record isn’t even that bad. He had one long term back injury which kept him out of action for over a year but apart from that there is nothing out of the ordinary for a footballer. A few small knocks and strains here and there. Certainly no recurring medium term injuries the likes of which have blighted Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Samir Nasri and all the rest of City’s band of extremely fragile warriors in the recent past.
Gundogan is a player entering his prime and City would get his best years. Considering all he has already achieved for club and country that would be quite something to see.
We were first introduced to Gundogan when he turned up at the Etihad with his Dortmund friends a few years ago and just annihilated City.
Since then he has only improved.
Where would he play? He seems like a natural replacement for club hero Yaya Toure. Yaya is getting on a bit and clearly in decline (Please note, he is not “lazy” – ed.). Gundogan offers a lot of creative attacking threat but also has the engine of the much younger man he is and can do the scurrying, pressing and defensive work as well.
Does that sound like it might fit in the plans of any manager we know?
The thing about that key central midfield position is that it takes experience. There is a good case for bringing in some of the academy kids and giving them a lot of responsibility in other positions – say, Angelino at left back? – but central midfield really is a different kettle of fish.
Manu Garcia, for example, is clearly part of City’s future in a very similar role but to imagine he could do that role properly and immediately in Pep’s brave new world is lunacy.
No. You can’t replace Yaya with someone untried and untested. You need an experienced head who is young enough to grow with the team. Ilkay Gundogan is not the worst shout at all and it seems like a reasonable price and a feasible deal. Lets go for it.
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Written by Alex Timperley