Manchester United boosted in Gundogan chase by Barcelona ban

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Manchester United’s hopes of signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan this summer have received a boost after it emerged that Barcelona have been handed a year-long transfer ban.

The Catalan giants were at the front of the queue to sign the classy 23-year-old - and even sent club doctor Dr Richard Pruna to monitor and assess his ongoing back problem last week - but, having been banned from signing any players during the next two transfer windows by FIFA, Manchester United find themselves in a good position to pounce this summer.

Gundogan only has a year left on his current contract - and Dortmund risk losing one of their prized assets for nothing in the summer of 2015 unless he agrees terms on a new contract at Signal Iduna Park.

Jurgen Klopp and his backroom staff are optimistic that Gundogan will agree to sign a new contract, as is the club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, who confirmed earlier this week that the central midfielder has been formally offered a contract extension.

Most of Europe’s top clubs are closely monitoring Gundogan’s situation, although they have been reluctant to make a move because of the player’s concerning back injury. The Gelsenkirchen-born midfielder, who played a pivotal role in BVB’s run to the 2012/13 Champions League final, has made just one Bundesliga appearance this season and is a major doubt for the World Cup finals in Brazil.

As well as Manchester United, the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are also believed to be keen on the £20m-rated star. However, unless there are assurances over his long-term condition, it seems unlikely that any of the interested clubs will be willing to pay a significant sum for his services during the forthcoming transfer window.

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