Manchester United Reportedly Target Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Manchester United are poised to make a January move for Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, according to Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.

Wilson describes United as on "red alert" following the player's current refusal to extend his contract past 2015. Speaking about his situation last month, Gundogan revealed:

I am not going to make statements on the contents of those talks.

Everyone has to be patient about it, just like I have to be patient in terms of my current injury.

Gundogan has been sidelined by a back complaint that's seen him feature in just one Bundesliga game this season, and recent reports suggest he may remain absent until January:

Wilson writes how the German international has been tracked before by the Red Devils, who wanted him in 2011. Gundogan declared United were "his dream club" at the time, which surely provides David Moyes with further incentive to make him a primary target.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 22:  (L-R) Tom Cleverley and Michael Carrick of Manchester United look dejected in defeat after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on September 22, 2013 in
Michael Regan/Getty Images

United have certainly been missing a creative influence in the heart of midfield. Tom Cleverley and Anderson are the current creative options to partner and complement the metronomic passing of Michael Carrick.

Marouane Fellaini has also been brought in, but his favoured role is as a defensive midfielder or as an emergency attacker. Now the Belgian is out with a wrist injury. As yet, none of these options have given United the blend of strength and creative prowess that David Moyes is after.

United currently average the seventh most shots per-game and have scored just six Premier League goals from open play, according to WhoScored.

This is a reasonable enough return for mediocrity, but it's certainly not championship material. Clearly there's lack of creativity in the middle, emphasised by the fact that Patrice Evra is currently their most creative playeralthough his 11 chances is only the 18th-best haul in the Premier League.

Having been so integral to Dortmund's Champions League final appearance last year, featuring as one of his side's main passers, Gundogan is certainly an option to improve this.

He's also a competent dribbler and reads the game well, adding extra security in the middle. He often supplies the player who goes on to produce the assist for a goal. 

However, before any January targets are considered—and especially given Gundogan's injury statusUnited would also be wise to use Shinji Kagawa in a more central role to see if he can influence things a little better.

The Japanese star has been strangely ostracised this season, making just one Premier League appearance despite his club's recurring struggles.

Just like his former Dortmund team-mate, he also has the ability to orchestrate attacks but, as yet, Moyes has been reluctant to give him a platform.

If Kagawa isn't the option, then Gundogan seems an ideal fit to solve this deficiency—but Moyes would be wise to test all of his current weapons first.


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