Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has revealed Manchester United made an approach to sign him while he was at Borussia Dortmund, and explained why the move never came off.
Gundogan joined City in the summer of 2016, becoming Pepe Guardiola’s first piece of business at the club. His signing set them back around £21million.
He has since made 192 appearances in all competitions, racking up 35 goals and 25 assists. He has also won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cups during his time in England.
The German is currently enjoying his best season in a sky blue shirt, having recently netted 11 times in just 12 games. That form has coincided with his side’s red-hot run of form, which has seen them win their last 19 matches.
But Gundogan has revealed he could have been playing across the city in a red jersey had things turned out a little differently.
Asked by Sky Sports (via the Metro) if United had shown interest in the past, he said: “It’s kind of true. There were talks. I think that was at least two or three years before I joined City. When I was playing at Borussia Dortmund.
“One team-mate of mine, Shinji Kagawa, went to Man United and someone told me they came to a few games to watch him before they bought him.
“Then I took their attention but it never really went into advanced talks because Borussia Dortmund made quite early clear that they are not willing to sell me.
“I had also a few years left on my contract so there was not really a point to talk to anyone at that moment. So yeah, in the end it didn’t happen.”
Gundogan’s eventual move to the Premier League proved much more successful than his former teammate Kagawa. He made just 57 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring six goals, before returning to Dortmund two years after signing.
Given his success at City, it comes as no surprise that Gundogan is happy with how things turned out.
The 30-year-old, capped 42 times by his country, added: “I’m very happy [to have joined City in the end]. I believe that everything happens for a reason.
“If I could change anything in my career, I wouldn’t. I’m just proud of where I came to and I’m really enjoying my time here.
“At the end, we all live for these kinds of rivalries in the city. So I also appreciate what Manchester United has done over the last few years and I enjoy playing against them. I enjoy being in the same city as them because that’s what football is about.”