Pep Guardiola is “desperate” for Manchester City to keep Ilkay Gundogan, despite the midfielder being in no hurry to commit his future, according to a report.
It has been a summer of several changes for Manchester City. They have made some high-profile signings, but their net spend is negative thanks to several departures. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko are some of the most recognisable players to have left.
There have also been exit rumours for a few of their other existing players. For example, there is a belief that Bernardo Silva could be tempted by Barcelona.
When discussing that possibility, Guardiola has often said he would not stand in the way of an unsettled player. However, his stance could be different if Gundogan angles for an exit.
The Germany international has entered the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium. However, he has just been installed as first-team captain, succeeding Fernandinho in the role.
It could be an indication of his importance to the club, which, the Daily Star has reported, Guardiola is keen to preserve.
According to the report, Manchester City are making plans to give Gundogan a new contract after the head coach told them to make a major effort to keep him.
Guardiola does not want to see Gundogan – his first signing as Manchester City manager, back in 2016 – end up with one of his suitors, such as Juventus. In fact, the former Bayern Munich boss is “adamant” that the reigning Premier League champions should be keeping their number eight.
And there is some optimism that Gundogan will see eye to eye with Guardiola over the plans. The Daily Star adds that despite claiming to be in no rush regarding his future, the midfielder is in favour of staying at the Etihad.
Gundogan still has lots to give City
Guardiola’s faith in him can only further help convince him that City are the right club to be at.
Gundogan has made 254 appearances for the club since his arrival from Borussia Dortmund. Guardiola has only ever used two players – Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne – more during his time in the City dugout (or with any other club, for that matter).
Their association could be about to continue, which would be good news for City. Even at the age of 31, Gundogan is still in his prime and has plenty to offer.
He has particularly improved as a goalscorer over the past couple of seasons. That could be of heightened importance after the exits of more advanced players like Sterling and Jesus (and potentially Silva).
City have tied players like Rodri and Riyad Mahrez down to longer-term contracts in recent weeks. Even if it takes time, it would be beneficial if Gundogan could follow in their footsteps by pledging his future to the club.