Today, the 25 year old Borussia Dortmund midfielder, Ilkay Gundogan signed a deal with Manchester City. Gundogan is one of the greatest players that Borussia Dortmund have ever had and he’s likely to be a perfect fit for Manchester City.
In his time with Borussia Dortmund, Gundogan made 157 appearances, helped them win the league and DFB Pokal in 2011-12, and was key in their run to the Champions League final. He was also selected for the German Bundesliga Team of the Season three times in his five seasons with Dortmund, and both times he wasn’t selected he spent a large portion of those seasons out injured.
Ilkay Gundogan will fit the style of Manchester City perfectly. Manchester City like to play a ball on the ground, possession style of football. With Guardiola coming in, that possession style of football will be even greater and Ilkay Gundogan will likely be at the centre of it. Ilkay Gundogan is one of the best passers in the world of football and he’ll be absolutely critical to City’s ability to keep possession of the ball. His stats this season for Dortmund are among the best in the league. His 80.9 passes per game was the fourth highest, while his 87.8% pass completion rate was the fourteenth highest and is very impressive given how many long passes he makes.
Guardiola likes his midfielders to be versatile and Gundogan is a player that can play anywhere in midfield and can play equally well at both attacking midfield and at defensive midfielder, something Guardiola will appreciate immediately.
Manchester City don’t have a single player in their squad that can do what Ilkay Gungodan can. Fernandinho and Fernando are both very much enforcers. They stay back and break up play. Yaya Toure meanwhile would be classified as a box to box midfielder but he’s more of a bulldozer on his way up the field and then a slug on his way back. Gundogan will provide everything that those three midfielders can do and more. He keeps possession of the ball better than most midfielders in the world. Meanwhile, his passing ability is second to none, while his defensive capabilities and efforts at goal should provide a much needed presence in the midfield in all areas. He also has an incredible tenacity and work ethic and never stops running, something Guardiola will also appreciate immensely. Gundogan also unlike Toure, has an incredible attitude about football and absolutely loves what he does for a living. Gundogan said in an interview with his new club, that he wanted to thank Borussia Dortmund for all that they did for him but that he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Pep Guardiola.
“I’m thrilled to have signed for Manchester City,” said Gundogan. “When I learned of City’s interest my heart was set on coming here…”I have loved my time with Borussia Dortmund and I would like to thank the club and the supporters for the five very happy years I spent there…Now I have a new challenge and that is to achieve great things with City. The opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to and I am flattered to be the first signing the Club has made this summer” (MCFC, 2016).
As an incredibly intelligent footballer, who has amazing tactical awareness and comes alive in the big games he’ll thrive under the influence of Pep Guardiola this season. Just hear what Jurgen Klopp had to say about him back in 2013 when Dortmund thrashed Real Madrid 4-1 in the UEFA Champions League semi final.
“He has turned into a real strategist. It is extraordinary. Not many players can do that. Many players can play in a small space, play fast and do a lot of great things, but to have such vision, such a passing game, such an eye for the situation, is extraordinary and makes him an extraordinary player” (ESPN 2013).
Ilkay Gundogan is likely to be absolutely immense in this upcoming season for Manchester City and as long as he can avoid injury he just might be one of their most important players.
As for Borussia Dortmund, Gundogan is a world class player who can change a game on a drop of a dime but he’s not exactly irreplaceable. BVB still have Nuri Sahin who has the ability to be like Gundogan on the very best of days, while 20-year old Julian Weigl is arguably an even better passer and could very well be the next Ilkay Gundogan. Dortmund will also have €26 million that they can now spend on another future star from this deal which should be enough to replace the German star. Gundogan leaves the club on good terms as a deal was expected to happen for him for a number of years now and the fans can appreciate that he’s stayed at the club as long as he has.
Ilkay Gundogan will be an excellent addition to Manchester City’s side and just might be the first and most important piece to the puzzle of Manchester City’s quest to win the 2016-17 Premier League title.