Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will reportedly snub interest from Spanish champions Barcelona, as he wants to open talks over a new deal with Pep Guardiola's side.
Gundogan has two years left on his current deal which runs until 2020. He is keen to commit his long-term future to the club and hopes to sign an improved deal soon, per the report.
The 27-year-old has emerged as an important member of the Manchester City squad after a tough start to his career in the Premier League.
Gundogan joined from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 but suffered a serious knee injury in his first season which ended his campaign prematurely.
The midfielder returned in September 2017 and made 49 appearances in all competitions, as Manchester City won the Premier League and the League Cup.
He is an attacking midfielder, presses the opposition high up the pitch and is great in possession. Squawka Football highlighted how influential he can be:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Most passes completed in a single Premier League game since the start of last season: • İlkay Gündoğan (167 vs. Chelsea) • Fernandinho (164 vs. Everton • Jorginho (158 vs. Newcastle) • Joël Matip (154 vs. Huddersfield) Some surprise numbers in this one. 😏 https://t.co/iJTRN5VczP
Gundogan appears to be happy at Manchester City. He has called Guardiola the "best manager in the world" and said "everyone who plays for Man City should feel privileged," per Goal's Stephen Creek.
Barcelona reportedly wanted Gundogan as a replacement for Andres Iniesta who joined Japanese side Vissel Kobe in May, per The Sun's Charlie Wyett.
Gundogan spoke about the speculation before the 2018 FIFA World Cup and highlighted his happiness at being with the Premier League side.
"I have two more years on my deal and City and, as you can imagine, I am very happy there," he told Arab News (h/t Sport)."I like how we play, the people I have around me, the city, the group... I'm really enjoying everything."
James Robson at the Manchester Evening News offered his view:
The Spanish champions did strengthen their midfield over the summer by signing Arthur from Gremio and Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich. It remains to be seen if they retain an interest in the German.
While Gundogan saw plenty of game time last season, he was frequently used off the bench. He will be hoping for more starts in this campaign, particularly with Kevin De Bruyne sidelined with a serious knee problem.