Sunday 21 January 2018

Ilkay Gundogan poised to become first Guardiola signing at Manchester City

Ilkay Gundogan is set to become Pep Guardiola's first signing
Ilkay Gundogan is set to become Pep Guardiola's first signing

Ian Herbert

Manchester City are on the brink of confirming that the Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will become the first signing of the Pep Guardiola era at the club.

The deal to sign the 25-year-old Germany international has not been entirely signed off but the announcement of the £20m deal is imminent - it is understood that the player's recently fractured kneecap will not affect the transfer.

Gundogan, a box-to-box midfielder, has undergone knee surgery after the injury, which is latest in a series he has suffered in recent years, making the investment in him a gamble.

But with Yaya Toure's future at the club uncertain, Guardiola has been keen to move for a player he is an enthusiastic admirer of, having viewed him at close quarters while managing Bayern Munich.

City are also interested in Everton defender John Stones, who is in England's Euro 2016 squad, and have a longstanding appreciation of Athletic Bilbao centre-back Aymeric Laporte. Laporte is also sidelined after breaking his ankle over Easter, though that appears unlikely to hamper a deal.


With City captain Vincent Kompany's physical capacity to play more than 20 games a season in doubt and previous central defensive investment Eliaquim Mangala failing to justify his £40m transfer fee, the need for central defensive reinforcements is even more important than the acquisition of Gundogan.

The move for Gundogan has reduced the prospects of City becoming engaged in another bid to sign Juventus' Paul Pogba.

The club dropped out of the pursuit of the Frenchman last summer when they were being asked to lay out ¤100m (£79.8m) for the player. His weekly wage demands could be as high as £400,000 a week, which even City would baulk at.

Toure has limited options of the move which his controversial and eccentric agent Dimitri Seluk likes to declare he wants, with few clubs able to come close to his £230,000-a-week wages. But Guardiola, who sold Toure at Barcelona, wants competition for him and Gundogan will put him under pressure.

Toure has been linked with a reunion with former City manager Roberto Mancini at Internazionale, but since the highest paid player at that club last season was £64,000-a-week Nemanja Vidic, such a move would entail a huge drop in wages for the 32-year-old Toure.

The Ivorian is ready to attempt to prove himself again to the Spaniard.

Independent News Service

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