Ilkay Gundogan will not be the answer to Manchester United’s midfield problems as reports in Germany claim the player could now stay with Borussia Dortmund.
The German deep-lying playmaker has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford for well over a year and there were reports that he was manager Louis van Gaal’s top transfer target this summer.
Towards the end of last season, it was heavily reported by Sky Sports that United were close to an agreement with Dortmund to sign Gundogan, although those rumours were swiftly dismissed by sporting director Michael Zorc [via Mirror Sport], who insisted no contact had been made.
The transfer saga has now taken a surprising twist following comments from the player’s agent that hints he could re-open contract talks with the Bundesliga outfit.
“He has been thinking about it,” Ilhan Gundogan told German publication Sueddeutsche Zeitung [via Mirror Sport].
“There are several things in favour of Ilkay finding back to his old level and doing that in a familiar, comfortable environment.”
“This is clearly an option again,” Ilhan added.
Only a couple of months ago it seemed certain the 24-year-old would depart the Westfalenstadion this summer after the club announced the would not be extending his current deal which expires at the end of next season [via BBC Sport].
Gundogan had also been linked with a move to United’s bitter rivals Arsenal, who reportedly contacted his representatives [via Mail Sport], although talk of a move to the Emirates Stadium has gone cold in recent weeks.
Bayern Munich and Barcelona were understood to have opened talks with the Germany international [via Standard Sport] but the former in particular withdrew their interest due to refusing to meet the midfielder’s wage demands [via Guardian Sport].
Those events seemed to pave the way for United to have a clear run at Gundogan, however, van Gaal has now ended the pursuit.
The Dutch manager could now turn his attentions to securing the signature of Munich vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger following confirmation from BBC Sport that the club hold a genuine interest in the world-class midfielder.
The German international skipper suffered with injuries last season but still managed to score five goals and register four assists in 20 Bundesliga appearances to help Bayern clinch the title.
Another option for United may well be Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, with ESPN reporting at the end of May that the Red Devils were leading the chase for the Saints midfield star.