Manchester United have received a timely boost in their efforts to land Borussia Dortmund star Ilkay Gundogan, according to the Daily Star.
The publication today carries comments from the player himself which confirm that he is close to a return from the lengthy injury which has kept him sidelined for over a year.
Back complaints have meant that any possible move which would see him follow the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze out the exit door at the Signal Iduna Park has been curtailed, though now that particular obstacle is set to be removed.
Gundogan confirmed that he was close to a return to action, which is not only good news for Jurgen Klopp, but also apparently Louis van Gaal. The Star speculates that his comeback, should it be successful, will once more put him in the frame to make a switch to Old Trafford.
Return from injury
"I feel that I'm edging ever-closer to my former self," Gundogan said.
"My comeback isn't too far away any more. I could be back after the international break.
"I have already pencilled out the entire day and I will thoroughly enjoy my comeback. I felt like a 90-year-old when I had just picked up the injury.
"I never considered the option that I could be forced to retire from football, but it was obviously the worst experience of my career."
The 23-year-old was said to be a top target of David Moyes before the Scot’s sacking at the back-end of last term, and the interest appears to have carried over to Van Gaal, who has already spent over £150million since his appointment.
The likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Daley Blind have been acquired to bolster the attacking unit at United, but there remains work to be done before the Red Devils are up to speed with their biggest Premier League rivals once more.
In this respect Gundogan could be a very astute purchase indeed. The Germany international has proved himself capable of shining on the biggest stages and, though naturally his return will be approached with caution due to his history with injuries, he would represent an investment for the future.
Would Dortmund sell?
Of course there is the small matter of having to inevitably persuade Klopp to part ways with another of his most influential players. With the future of Marco Reus looking somewhat precarious the Dortmund boss will be wary of negotiating with anyone when it comes to Gundogan and despite the fact they’ve proven themselves masters of adapting to cope with the loss of influential figures, one more big-name exit could cripple them.
The player himself may well see a move to the Premier League as a way of giving his career a boost, particularly since it’s stagnated since his injury. His decision could be largely decided by whether or not United qualify for the Champions League, as a lack of European football won’t be appealing in the slightest.