Manchester United Told to Sign Ilkay Gundogan by Rene Meulensteen

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund celebrates after scoring a goal from the penalty spot 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

Rene Meulensteen believes Manchester United should break the bank to land the services of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

The former Red Devils first-team coach—who departed alongside Sir Alex Ferguson during the summer—has outlined the versatile German as the perfect solution to United’s central midfield problems, as noted in a Q&A session with his Twitter followers:

Meulensteen also confirmed he misses working at Old Trafford and that he is looking to return to the Premier League:

The signing of Gundogan would undoubtedly represent a statement of intent from United. Dortmund’s world-class midfielder possesses a versatile set of skills and is built to fulfil the extensive duties given to a modern midfielder.

Gundogan’s excellent passing and vision would help United maintain speed through the centre, something that is currently missing with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Marouane Fellaini.

His energy and willingness to work defensively would also see him bounce around the often stationary figure of Michael Carrick, who needs a long-term partner to maintain his best form. Gundogan is a natural dribbler and would dictate between United’s midfield and attacking lines, even allowing Wayne Rooney to regularly remain further up the pitch.

Despite only playing one game due to injury so far this season, per Who Scored, Gundogan’s talents remain on the consciousness of many European giants as we head toward the January transfer window.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25:  Franck Ribery of Bayern Muenchen (R) in action with Ilkay Gundogan of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern Muenchen at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London,
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

As reported by Paul Gorst of the Mirror, it is suggested United, Arsenal and Real Madrid could do battle for the injured player’s signature during the winter weeks.

David Moyes absolutely needs to strengthen his midfield, which currently lacks strength in depth.

Aside from Carrick, the likes of Cleverley and Anderson fail to instil fear into opponents. Summer signing Fellaini has also disappointed during his brief United tenure and generally lacks the mobility to maintain pace with Europe’s elite.

This problem is longstanding and remains a hangover from Ferguson's reign. The Scot regularly failed to strengthen an area that so desperately needs improvement.

At 23 years of age, the acquisition of Gundogan would lay down a significant marker in Moyes’ United tenure.

The Scotsman needs to make a headline-grabbing move—especially after missing out on the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera and Sami Khedira during the summer, per David Kent of the Daily Mail—and can signal his ambition with a big-money move for the much-admired player.

Jurgen Klopp recently hinted he wishes to re-sign Shinji Kagawa from the Red Devils, as reported by John Edwards of the Daily Mail, suggesting United could broker some kind of swap deal if the Japanese player continues to underperform in England.

Gundogan is likely to emerge as one of Europe's most sought-after players when the January window opens, suggesting United need leverage in order to secure the exciting individual's extensive array of talents.

Should United remain in the title race after Christmas, the potential signing of Gundogan would make all the difference as the build up to squeaky bum time begins.