Manchester United are reportedly interested in picking up Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan over the January transfer window as the Red Devils seek to improve their midfield for the remainder of the Premier League season.
The 22-year-old Gundogan is considered to be one of the fastest rising stars in world football and is believed to have attracted interest from Sir Alex Ferguson, who watched the German international in his recent Champions League match for Dortmund against Manchester City.
Tottenham Hotspur will battle Manchester United for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan... one of Europe's most wanted men.
United boss Ferguson is actually tracking two Dortmund players—Gundogan and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, 24. Fergie raided Dortmund in the summer for Shinji Kagawa, a deal which could eventually cost the Old Trafford club £17 million, and he is set to return with a new double bid.
Gundogan is a defensive midfielder at Dortmund and a highly effective one given the attacking talent ahead of him in Mario Goetze, Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski—leaving many to suggest that he would also succeed at United, where he would have players like Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa ahead of him.
The 22-year-old has the skill and vision to become the Red Devils' complement to Paul Scholes—a force to be reckoned with right across the pitch in both attack and defense.
He is willing to run the ball and create chances for those around him, with his vision and unpredictability a challenge for defenses right around the world.
Should he be coupled with Rooney and van Persie at Old Trafford, Manchester United would have one of the toughest attacks to stop in the English Premier League, and at a more personal level, the team would finally have a player strong enough to contain Yaya Toure when the two sides meet later on this season.
Says Eurosport of the 22-year-old:
He has the technical and creative ability to play killer through-balls, but it not afraid to slow the tempo and has the touch and technique to do so.
What's most impressive about this young man is that he has the awareness and maturity to pick and choose the moments to play a reverse through-ball or nutmeg an opponent, and when to keep it simple.
The closest active player by comparison is probably another German, Bastian Schweinsteiger, or even Arsenal's Jack Wilshere.
Gundogan currently ranks top three at Dortmund in average passes per game, pass-completion percentage, interceptions and attacking dribbles (per WhoScored).
There would be no doubt that Gundogan's presence at United would be a welcome one, and a move by the German would give great strength to an already-prolific Red Devils midfield that possesses several strong, talented players.
Yet having said that, I simply can't see the reigning German champions selling their international midfielder to Manchester United—not this January and probably not any time in the near future given the transfer history between the two clubs.
Dortmund have several world-class players in their lineup, but to lose Gundogan would be a bitter blow for the club. It would be like losing the lynchpin that holds their talent and their fluid movement together—similar to what they lost last season in Shinji Kagawa, though perhaps Kagawa brought more of an attacking edge than Gundogan does.
They have already sold the Japanese international Kagawa to United over the summer transfer window—making it extremely unlikely that they would turn around and sell Gundogan to the same club over the very next transfer window.
Lewandowski continues to be linked heavily with a move to Old Trafford, and the continual answer to that rumor is that Dortmund wouldn't sell their best players to a club that they, well, have already sold their best players to previously.
Were they to find a way to encourage Dortmund to let Gundogan leave, he would most likely cost the Red Devils around £9 million (per Transfermarkt).
The price tag is not an issue and would perhaps even be somewhat of a steal for a player with the proven class at an international level and potential that Gundogan has.
The issue is about Dortmund and their understandable reluctance to let another star midfielder walk out on the club for Manchester United.
Which could well kill this transfer before it even truly began.
Will Manchester United sign Ilkay Gundogan this January?
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