Manchester United have renewed their interest in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan - and will make a move for the Germany international if they fail to sign either AS Roma’s Kevin Strootman or Juventus star Arturo Vidal in the January transfer window.
This is according to the Express, who claim that Gundogan has been identified by United boss Louis van Gaal as a potential signing after he finally made his long-awaited return from injury. The 23-year-old was linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2013, but a move failed to materialise after he suffered a serious back injury.
Gundogan ended up missing 14 months - including the entire 2013/14 campaign - before returning to action for Borussia Dortmund’s reserve side last Friday. The former Nurnberg midfielder only played 45 minutes of the friendly against VfL Bochum, but still managed to score his team’s second goal in a 2-0 win before being substituted.
Dortmund’s first team have endured a dismal start to the 2014/15 campaign, having picked up seven points from their opening seven matches, leaving them 13th in the Bundesliga table. Subsequently, manager Jurgen Klopp will be looking to bring Gundogan back into the fold at the earliest available opportunity.
Gundogan in line to face Cologne?
It’s possible that he could make his first competitive appearance for BVB this season on Saturday afternoon, when Klopp’s side travel to Cologne. Whether Manchester United scouts will be in attendance at the RheinEnergieStadion is unclear, but officials at Old Trafford appear to be less confident about the prospect of signing either Strootman or Vidal in January.
The Red Devils have been quoted an absurd £75 million to sign Dutch midfielder Strootman - who Van Gaal is a huge fan of - while Vidal would cost a reported €66 million (£52 million) to sign when the transfer window re-opens in the New Year.
Vidal in trouble
Juventus are keen to keep Vidal in Turin despite his recent off-field antics. The Chile international was dropped for Juve’s crunch match against AS Roma earlier this month after he was involved in a brawl at a nightclub, leading sports psychologists to speculate that the world-class midfielder is suffering after his summer move to Manchester United collapsed, combined with the stresses of forcing himself to be fit for the World Cup finals in Brazil.
With Vidal and Strootman both set to stay put with their respective employers, Gundogan could be the midfielder Van Gaal turns to - but only if he proves his fitness.