Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City star ‘clearly chosen’ by Barcelona as top target after final conviction in Champions League

Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan representing Manchester City

Barcelona are convinced that Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is the player who should be their top target in his position this summer, according to a report.

Gundogan is in the final year of his contract with Man City, so could be available on a free transfer this summer. It is an opportunity that Barcelona do not want to miss, especially while dealing with some financial concerns.

According to the latest from Diario Sport, Gundogan has been “clearly chosen” by Barcelona as their main midfield target for the upcoming transfer window.

They were thrilled by his performance for Man City against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, which was the last piece of evidence they needed to be convinced of what Gundogan can offer.

Therefore, Barcelona will push the boat out to try and sign him on a free transfer in the summer. Their main obstacle will be meeting his salary demands, but Gundogan is keen on the move, so could find a compromise.

Barcelona’s strategy might be to offer him a contract for longer than two years, on lower terms than what he currently earns from Man City.

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Furthermore, Barcelona officials are reassuring Gundogan’s people that they will be able to register him to their squad after previously encountering some difficulties in that regard.

With that in mind, Gundogan “is not listening” to any attempt by Man City to renew his stay in the Premier League, the report says. Instead, the 32-year-old views Barcelona as the ideal place to see out the rest of his prime years.

Barcelona plan potential Gundogan roles

Likewise, Barcelona believe he has the pedigree and versatility to succeed at Camp Nou. Tactically, Xavi could use him either as a holding midfielder or in more of a box-to-box role.

This season, Gundogan has made 40 appearances in all competitions for Man City so far. He has most commonly played as a number eight, but has also spent time as a deep-lying midfielder or as a number 10.

In the process, the Man City captain has provided five goals and the same number of assists. His overall record since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 is 293 appearances, 54 goals and 38 assists.

Before joining Man City as Pep Guardiola’s first signing, Gundogan had spent his entire club career in his native Germany. Hence, moving to the Spanish La Liga with Barcelona would be a new experience for him.

It would also give him the chance to reunite with former Man City teammates such as Ferran Torres and Eric Garcia, as well as ex-Dortmund colleague Robert Lewandowski and Germany compatriot Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

In other news, meanwhile, Man City appear to have become the favourites to sign current Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham.