Arsenal could miss out on Ilkay Gundogan because 'he wants to play for Pep Guardiola' at Manchester City

Gundogan's current contract with Borussia Dortmund expires at the end of next season and he is attracting interest from Arsenal and City as well as Barcelona and Juventus

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The Independent Football

Arsenal could miss out on long-term transfer interest Ilkay Gundogan because the Borussia Dortmund midfielder wants to play for Pep Guardiola, putting Manchester City in the driving seat should he push for a summer transfer.

25-year-old Gundogan came close to leaving the Bundesliga club last year when Manchester United pursued him, only for the club’s commitment as he struggled with injury to persuade Gundogan to remain at the Signal Iduna Park for at least one more year.

But Gundogan has now rejected two individual contract extension offers from Dortmund, and with just a year remaining on his contract, any interest in the summer is likely to result in a move away from the German side.

The Daily Mail reports that Dortmund would prefer to discover Gundogan’s intention by the end of this month rather than wait until the end of the season, where they would be forced into a decision to either sell the midfielder or risk him running down his contract and leaving on a free transfer the following year.

Arsenal have kept an eye on Gundogan knowing that his future could come under question, although there remains interest from Juventus and Barcelona and any move is far from a given. Gundogan has also revealed that his contract situation offers “nothing new to report”, while the club’s official Twitter account responded to a report last month that he had agreed to join City with: “Really? We should know about that, shouldn't we? Truth is, we don't know anything about that.”

It’s believed that City are leading the way though, and with Guardiola currently getting a close-up look at Gundogan in the Bundesliga, he could give his future club the go ahead to launch a move in the coming months. Guardiola has made it clear that he is able to prepare fully for his next job at City while trying to lead Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title and Champions League success, although Dortmund have managed to close the gap at the top of the league to five points after the Bavarians slipped up against Mainz this week.