Ilkay Gundogan to Manchester City: Borussia Dortmund midfielder on brink of becoming Pep Guardiola’s first signing

The injury-prone Germany international will be a calculated gamble for the club

Ian Herbert
Wednesday 01 June 2016 22:31 BST
Pep Guardiola is a big fan of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder
Pep Guardiola is a big fan of the Borussia Dortmund midfielder (Getty Images)

Manchester City are on the brink of confirming that the Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will become the first signing of the Pep Guardiola era at the club.

The deal to sign the 25-year-old Germany international has not been entirely signed off, but the announcement of the £20m deal is imminent and it is understood that the player’s recently fractured kneecap will not affect the transfer. Gundogan has undergone knee surgery after the injury which is latest in a series he has suffered in recent years, making the investment in him a calculated gamble. But with Yaya Toure’s future at the club uncertain, Guardiola has been keen to move for a player he is an enthusiastic admirer of, having viewed him at close quarters while managing Bayern Munich.

City are also interested in Everton defender John Stones, who is in England’s Euro 2016 squad, and have a longstanding appreciation of the Athletic Bilbao central defender Aymeric Laporte. Laporte is also sidelined after breaking his ankle over Easter, though that appears unlikely to hamper a deal. With City captain Vincent Kompany’s physical capacity to play more than 20 games a season in doubt and the previous central defensive investment Eliaquim Mangala simply not as impressive as City’s coaches or board expected him to be for an outlay of more than £40m, the need for central defensive reinforcements is even more important than the acquisition of Gundogan.

 City are also interested in the England and Everton defender John Stones 

The move for Gundogan means that he prospect of City becoming engaged in another bid to sign Juventus’ Paul Pogba has receded. The club dropped out of the pursuit of the Frenchman last summer when they were being asked to lay out 100m euros (£79.8m) for the player. His weekly wage demands could be as high as £400,000-a-week, which City would baulk at.

Toure has limited options of the move which his controversial and eccentric agent Dimitri Seluk likes to declare he wants, with few clubs able to come close to his £230,000-a-week wages. But Guardiola, who sold Toure at City, wants competition for him and Gundogan will put him under pressure.

Toure has been linked with a reunion with former City manager Roberto Mancini at Internazionale, but since the highest paid player at that club last season was £64,000-a-week Nemanja Vidic, such a move would entail a huge drop in wages for the 32-year-old Toure. The Ivorian is ready to attempt to prove himself again to the Spaniard

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