Borussia Dortmund have offered injured midfielder Ilkay Gundogan a new contact in a bid to prevent him joining Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich this summer.
The 23-year-old has missed almost the entire season with a mysterious back problem but remains one of Europe's most sought-after players largely thanks to his exploits during the 2012/13 campaign, during which he helped Dortmund reach the Champions League final.
Gundogan only has a year left to run on his current contract and was expected to leave Signal Iduna Park in the near future, but Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has told Sport-BILD weekly that BVB are determined to keep him.
"Ilkay Gundogan is an important player of our squad we want to keep at our club," Watzke said. "We have submitted a contract offer to Ilkay Gundogan and we are expecting to hear from him about it.
"And we are certainly not going to need to wait until the summer to see him reply."
Watzke's comments suggest Dortmund are confident that Gundogan will agree to sign a new deal with BVB - although the player's final decision could be determined by whether the aforementioned interested clubs are deterred to make a formal offer for his services because of his ongoing back problem.
Barcelona remain keen to sign Gundogan as a long-term replacement for Xavi, but will not commit to any deal until they are guaranteed the player has fully recovered from his injury and won't suffer a relapse.
It's expected that the same applies for the other interested clubs, which may allow Dortmund to nip in and convince the midfielder to commit his future to his current employers.
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