Man City will part ways with Ilkay Gundogan who was spotted boarding a private jet on Monday, and his exit could be bad news for those wishing to see Frenkie de Jong at Man Utd, per reports.
The Germany international, 31, has never put a foot wrong in a Manchester City shirt. The central midfielder enjoyed his best season to date last year when bagging 13 goals in the league. Not only did that make him the club’s top scorer in the league, but his 17 goals across all competitions also led the way overall, surpassing Phil Foden’s 16.
However, Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva have been the preferred pairing to flank Rodri this season. As such, Gundogan has seen his starts limited to just 20 this term.
According to the Daily Mail, Gundogan wishes to be a regular starter at this stage in his career and that’s something City can no longer guarantee.
Accordingly, City have now told Gundogan he is free to part ways and search for his next club.
The midfielder has one year left on his contract, meaning this summer is the ideal time for City to cash in. The report notes the split between Gundogan and Man City is amicable.
The author of the piece, Mike Keegan, also tweeted Gundogan was spotted boarding a private jet headed to Madrid on Monday. While it is mere speculation at present, that could indicate a move to Real Madrid is on the cards.
The Mail article added Real attempted to sign Gundogan when he previously played for Borussia Dortmund.
Guardiola on the prowl
Gundogan’s exit brings clarity to a recent report by the Telegraph. That particular newspaper claimed Pep Guardiola will push to sign a new, top class midfielder this summer. Gundogan’s impending exit explains why.
The Telegraph added a move for Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong isn’t on the agenda. However, multiple reports from various other outlets since then have stated otherwise.
Indeed, the Sun are among those to put the Cityzens firmly in the race for the Dutchman. Barcelona could cash in this summer with academy graduates Pedri and Gavi already surpassing expectations.
Which Manchester club is better for Frenkie De Jong
The two Manchester clubs look like they'll be going to battle over Barcelona's Frenkie De Jong, however United is probably the better option for him.
The 25-year-old is well known to incoming United boss Erik ten Hag through their time at Ajax. United are in desperate need of at least one major midfield addition this summer with Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic both leaving.
De Jong would fit that bill and transfer guru Gerard Romero recently claimed a move to Old Trafford was 95 percent done.
However, the Sun reported City may battle United for his signature and his desire to play Champions League football makes them a more attractive prospect.
And with Gundogan now on the way out, City’s resolve to sign a midfielder of De Jong’s calibre will stiffen.
Pressure on City to replace Gundogan
If Gundogan is successful in finding a new club, City will be losing one of their most dependable assets.
The fact he enjoyed his best goalscoring form last season shows he is far from a player on the decline despite being 31. What’s more, he was perfectly in tune with Guardiola’s system and demands at the Etihad.
The fact he has been bumped down the order this season should not reflect badly on Gundogan. Indeed, very few midfielders in world football would have kept De Bruyne and Silva out of the eleven week after week this year.
If the speculation of a move to the Bernabeu comes true, Carlo Ancelotti will be landing a top level operator. He already looks a natural successor – even if only for a few years – to either Luka Modric or Toni Kroos.
That particular pair remain at the top of their game. But at 36 and 32 respectively, how long they have left is open to debate.