Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has raised fresh doubts over his future with the German club, as he admitted he would be interested in a move to Spanish giants Barcelona.
23-year-old Gundogan has been linked regularly with Barcelona in the last twelve months along with a whole host of clubs including Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid and English teams including Arsenal and Manchester United with his contract set to expire at the end of the 2014/15 season.
The German international had however seemed to commit his future to Dortmund back in April when he signed a one year extension to his deal with the German Super Cup holders.
Speaking at the time Gundogan told the club's official website: "I am very grateful that my club gives me the opportunity to continue to be part of this special team and this very special environment."
"I will do everything to be able to help my team-mates again soon and am very optimistic heading into the coming weeks and months."
After starting his career with Vfl Bochum, Gundogan moved to FC Nurnberg where he established himself in the first team before a move to Borussia Dortmund came to fruition in 2011. Since joining Jurgen Klopp’s team Gundogan has made 57 league appearances, contributing six goals and eight assists in the process. He has strengthened his reputation as one of Europe’s top midfield talents, also making eight appearances for the German national side.
Gundogan’s game is built primarily on industrial performances, though that is to take nothing away from his quality on the ball as his range of passing is a key weapon in his armoury. After helping BVB to defend their Bundesliga crown in his first season with the club, the Gelsenkirchen born midfielder then played a pivotal role in helping Klopp’s team reach the final of the 2012/13 Champions League, which they went on to lose to rivals Bayern Munich, despite Gundogan scoring from the penalty spot.
Things were looking good for the playmaker, and he was expected to be given more responsibility following the departure of Mario Gotze when disaster struck. A back injury picked up on the opening day of last season's Bundesliga campaign kept the 23-year-old side lined for the rest of the term and ruled out any possibility of the midfielder joining his international teammates at the upcoming World Cup.
Whilst some have cast doubt over the long term affect the injury may have on Gundogan’s career, the speculation linking him with other clubs has never stopped, with Barcelona believed to be the frontrunners for his signature.
"Although I’ve been out injured, very important clubs have shown an interest in signing me,” Gundogan told Kicker.
"There really are lots of people who think I would fit in perfectly at Barcelona.”
"I think that if I perform at my best level, I can push myself towards any of the big clubs, whoever they are."
Following a disappointing and trophy-less campaign, new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique will be looking for new additions to improve his squad and with the expected departure of Cesc Fabregas midfield is likely to be a focus.
Gundogan is more likely to be viewed as a replacement for ageing Xavi rather than Fabregas but whether his injury concerns are enough to deter Barcelona remains to be seen.
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