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Arsenal Transfer Rumours: Ilkay Gundogan Could Not Swap Dortmund for Better Club

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, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

Recent reports have emerged linking Ilkay Gundogan with a selection of Premier League clubs, the young German international having evidently impressed in his early steps as a Borussia Dortmund star.

Among those clubs sits Arsenal, who are supposedly keen to take advantage of the midfielder's uncertain contract situation at Signal Iduna Park.

Gundogan has hardly featured this season due to a back injury
Gundogan has hardly featured this season due to a back injuryAlex Grimm/Getty Images

And it's also the North Londoners who would provide the 23-year-old with the easiest transition in leaving his German surroundings, more so than any of the other European giants who may be interested in his services.

According to Nick Lustig of the Daily Star, the Black and Yellows' CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke admitted that Gundogan remains the only player whose contract the club are uncertain about, thus leaving the door seemingly open for the Gunners to come through with a potential move.

Watzke comments on the situation, per Lustig, saying:

It is our absolute desire that besides Robert Lewandowski no other regular player leaves the club. Only in the case of Ilkay Gundogan, we do not yet know how it will turn out. We would love to extend (a contract) with him.

Although leagues apart in the literal sense, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal are two sides not completely dissimilar in terms of style and club mentality.

Since winning the Champions League in 1997, the German giants have only furthered their base around a strong passing game, not unlike Arsenal's.

Granted, Juergen Klopp's side rely more on swift and fast counter-attacking football than their North London counterparts, who employ a stronger sense of possession-based play, but Gundogan would find a strong footing awaiting him at the Emirates Stadium nonetheless.

Wenger could be Gundogan's next mentor
Wenger could be Gundogan's next mentorChristopher Lee/Getty Images

In the build-up to their Champions League clash this season, Klopp was reported by Goal.com's Tim Poole as calling Wenger's philosophies an "orchestra," while his style is closer to that of "heavy Metal:"

He is really something. I love him. He is Sir Arsene Wenger. He is 'hello (making a handshake gesture)'. I’m this guy.

But he likes having the ball, playing football, passes... it’s like an orchestra. But it is a silent song. I like heavy metal more. I always want it loud.

Aside from any club identity factors, however, there's also the issue that often plagues young players moving to a big, established club—team selection.

Aaron Ramsey's revival this season has seen another central midfield talent added to Arsene Wenger's playmaking ranks, the Welshman's rise in quality almost being as good as a new signing, but there is room for Gundogan at the club.

Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky are both getting on in years, each the wrong side of 30, while Jack Wilshere has shown this term that, despite being one of the club's more prodigious talents, he isn't quite undroppable.

In behind the likes of compatriots Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, as well as Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gundogan would find a plethora of attacking targets not too unlike the incredible selection that Borussia Dortmund already boast.

Ozil is another technical German benefiting from his move to Arsenal
Ozil is another technical German benefiting from his move to ArsenalChristopher Lee/Getty Images

A box-to-box presence as promising as any in Europe's elite ranks, Gundogan's engine-room versatility could see him become the third piece of a growing puzzle under Wenger's command at a club promoting all the values that would lend themselves well to a playmaker of his skill set.

Whether or not the transfer will ever come to pass is a question for another day, but it's difficult to see a destination that the midfield maestro would fit into any better than at the Emirates.

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